The big day has finally come- I had packed my bags about seven times, waiting for this day to come. Before, I got out of school I knew I was ready for my first experience outside of the country- I could hardly wait. However, the more time went by and days going away, my nerves began to hit me like a hammer hitting a nail.

I had realized that I would be leaving my family behind and even my cute little kitten I got for my birthday- which I will be arriving two days before my big 1 7 birthday! At the same time I wish I could take my new kitten with me in my suitcase, but that would be too hard because he would need air to breathe. But, I know what I’ll bring with me is the necklace – the neclklace is an autumn leaf- kind of threaded inside. This necklace was passed on to me from my grandmother, I would be in tears if I had left it here back home because it means a lot to me.

Even with the tears I want to leave my fear at home and bring my caring and humor with me to Guatemala and share things about my family with my new family. Since I have lived in the U.S. all my life, the way I dress and others dress may seem a little, I would say “under dressed” in Guatemala, because when you look at the images of the women in Guatemala their clothing are hand-made, with their long dresses which covers down to their ankles. I am a little scared of what to wear down there, so I left the little butt-cut shorts home and the V- neck t-shirts.

With all the re-packing and making sure I have everything on the list checked off, I still feel like I am missing something and my mother even helped me figure out what I was missing. And it was a goodbye kiss on the cheek  and a big hug. Even though I’ll be leaving, I will never say good-bye because I’ll see my mom and the rest of my family  after two weeks. I know I am not a little girl anymore, I still love my kisses and hug bye before I leave. I am excited for what my experience will be like in Guatemala. I can’t wait, off I go to a new world! read more →

Guatemala. A country of striking features with its mountainous, heavily forested landscape. Dotted with Mayan ruins, lakes, volcanoes, orchids and exotic birds, Guatemala is one of the most beautiful countries in Central America. Guatemala’s natural beauty and powerful identity stand in stark contrast to its bloody past and troubled present.

With the articles and news feeds, I had tapped into the mind of Guatemala to discover the past events which gave the media a great spill of words to write about. The Guatemala Genocide, which led to innocent Mayan Indian villagers – women, children and the list goes on – killed by the Guatemalan government and its special force (members would identify them as “killing machines” ). Today many others like myself question about the genocide and the result of it. In my opinion and all the other news feeds like BBC News, this event had made Guatemala a stronger country, even with its horrible past and struggles with poverty. I can’t wait for what Guatemala will bring to my eyes and mind because I want to see and think more outside the box and with Guatemala’s past and present, I hope I will be able to see a great future from Guatemala and its people.

– Ciara Brown

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