It’s hard to believe how fast the past few days have gone. They have been filled with so many enriching activities…. Let’s start with our 3:30am wake up call on Wednesday morning.
We took a bus to the base of La Nariz del Indio (Indian Nose) and began hiking up to the top at 4am. This is a group of fastttt hikers! Needless to say, we made it the top of the mountain with plenty of time to watch the sunrise over Lake Atitlán. It was a quiet and beautiful morning. The way the light made the lake glisten was truly magical. The students planned the logistics for this activity and did a great job. They even made homemade trail mix snacks for everyone, which we really appreciated after the intense uphill climb. After spending an hour looking over the lake, we made the climb down all the way back to San Juan La Laguna (a different way than the hike up).
Wednesday’s fun didn’t end there. For dinner, we walked over to Doña Cristina’s house — a long time community partner of Dragons — and she taught the group how to make pepian. Everyone in the group played a role. Some of us were roasting tomatoes and onions, other cutting up the vegetables, cooking chicken, and making rice. I think I speak for the majority of the group when I say it was our favorite meal so far. Pepian is a very traditional Guatemalan dish, and Instructor Teto shared that he always asks his mom to make it for his birthday (and now we know why!).
After a good nights sleep, on Thursday we woke up refreshed and ready for more action — this time we’re learning the Mayan sport of El Juego de Pelota Maya. We learned the sport from community partner, Diego and his friends from his pelota maya team. This game is challenging. We divided up into two teams and did our best to follow the rules of the game that Diego taught us. Luckily we have three players playing with us, so we could learn pretty quickly from them. Essentially you cannot use your hands or feet. You have to hit the ball from the sides of your hips. And did I mention the ball weighs about 4 pounds?
We’ve since left San Juan and now are in San Lucas Taliman. The students planned a coffee tour for the group yesterday, and today we visited a Permaculture Farm and walked through a bosque primario (an old-growth forest). We learned so much about the ancestral way of growing food and which foods are native to Mesoamerica. Stay tuned for the details on the past few days 🙂