The past six weeks have certainly been a whirlwind. The first 4 weeks in my post I attended language school in Xela, the second-largest city in Guatemala. I was in a 1-to-1 class for 5 hours a day, managing to complete most Spanish Grammar rules within just 4 weeks, thus turning my brain into eggs and beans (a typical Guatemalan Breakfast with tortillas) by the end. When I arrived in Guatemala City, the Bishop and his family met me right off the bus and we drove off to prepare for a week in Mariscos on Lago Izabal. Guatemala City is immense! The majority of the population in Guatemala live in the Capital so I can’t help but constantly feel the energy of constant movement. Leaving at 3 am, I repacked my bags and headed on my next adventure. On the first day, I attended a Meeting for Women in the Diocese where they would elect the new leaders for this Ministry and visited San Felipe to meet with the congregation and managed to get a good soccer game on the go. Sunday, I attended a service in Morales and made lots of new friends in Sunday School. The following days were made up of the retreat for priests where I managed to interview about 18 priests about youth in their parish and community at the moment. This week has unquestionably put my Spanish abilities, my confidence, and my deodorant to the test. However, I think being thrown into the deep end is the best way to approach this work, with a lot of strategic siestas. Yesterday I also met with Greg Lowden who is the Director of Guatemala Youth Initiative and looking forward to collaborating with his incredible project in the future which supports contraceptive rights for women in some of the most deprived parts of Guatemala City.
This brings me to today in Antigua, making the most of some time to process all that has happened. Tomorrow I'll be visiting the Episcopal Church in Antigua. My plan right now is to follow the Bishop's travel schedule and collect information from youth in the Church, the surrounding community, and connect with local NGOs to learn and build relationships before anything is taken off the ground.