My last article was about the frustrations of living in a developing country. This one is about how amazing this experience is. So far I have been developing the training programs of the organization I am working for, and was just asked to do a social impact assessment, which means an evaluation of their programs. In other words, how are the training programs and increased income impacting the women’s overall quality of life? I strongly believe this organization makes a huge difference on the lives of indigenous women, but it’s nice to have some statistical proof.
So other than work being awesome….Guatemala is just gorgeous. My friends and I have been travelling around a bit and I have to say, I am floored by the natural beauty of this country. A couple of weekends ago we took a boat to San Pedro, a quaint little town across Lake Atitlan, where we horse backed up a mountain. Sure, I almost died — my horse was spooked by a dog and was jumping uncontrollably and almost slipped off the cliff but caught himself and turned around– but I didn’t die. Although I was terrified the rest of the ride, being on a horse on a mountain with the lake and volcanoes in the distance is pretty high up on the list of unforgettable experiences.
Last weekend, a group of us went to Xocomil, a water park outside of Xela, which is about a 2.5-3 hour bus ride from Panajachel. First I was apprehensive because shouldn’t I be doing culturally stimulating things that enrich my experience in Guatemala? Naaaahhhh, it was so much fun! I made bad decisions the night before and threw up on the bus ride there, but oh well, shiz happens. As soon as I got in the water, hangover be gone! We spent that night in a hostel called Nim Sut, which honestly, I don’t know if I’m getting really used to Guatemala or if I hate the conditions of the house I currently live in that much, but this hostel was not what I expected. Of course there were six of us to a bunk-bedded room, but it was so pretty, with a terrace, a patio, really clean, down comforters, and hot showers — definitely one of the highlights of the trip. It was the best shower I have taken since Brooklyn. All in all, the hostel experience was great, especially coming back late and drunkenly crawling into the top bunk and having one of the girls say “you guys….we’re like sisters….” Great bonding experience with the girls!
The next day, we headed to Las Fuentes Georginas, hot springs! If anyone has the chance to ever come to Guatemala, you cannot skip these hot springs. If you do go, go to the more private springs about a 10 minute walk downhill from the parking lot, not the main public ones at the top of the hill. The main ones were fine, very pretty, hot water. But the private one was by far the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. There were two pools of hot water surrounded by mountains and waterfalls. Sunrays peeking through trees highlighted the hot water of the springs. Putting my back against the hot wall of the mountain and letting the cold waterfall cascade over my body is by far the happiest moment of my life. I was on this natural high that I have never experienced before. My body was shaky, probably due to the altitude and adrenaline, and I could not wipe the smile off my face. Words cannot describe how beautiful this scene was.
Moral of the story: sure there are difficulties in Guatemala, but at the end of the day it’s all worth it. When will I be under a waterfall ever again? ….I don’t know, maybe I’ll go back next week!
Stay tuned for more of my adventures in Guatemala.