“Audrey, something smells. Did you burn the toast?”
“No, look behind you – the volcano just erupted!”
— Our first morning in Antigua, Guatemala. Fuego Volcano lets off a puff of smoke as we assemble breakfast on the rooftop terrace of our friend's home.
Reconnecting in Guatemala
Two years ago, we met Lucrecia on a trek outside of Luang Prabang, Laos. Her energy and spirit were infectious; her outlook optimistic. When we said goodbye at the end of our hike, we wondered whether we would ever see her again.
When we arrived at the airport in Guatemala City on Monday, she was there, waving excitedly as we exited customs. We hugged like old friends, as if no time had passed.
A Focus on People
Lucrecia has kindly shared her beautiful home and town with us this week. It would be a lie to say that we're not enjoying the luxury of rooftop breakfasts and volcano-framed evening dips in the jacuzzi.
What makes this visit special, however, is Lucrecia's spirit – in particular, what she is doing to give back to her community by helping young girls from the slums continue their education. We hope to share more of her story in a future post.
As we carve our way through Central and South America, we hope to offer more examples of people giving back and making a difference in their communities. Through the help of friends and our network, we continue to line up projects and connections in Guatemala – from microcredit organizations to orphanages.
We are trying to secure similar projects for the rest of this trip. If you have contacts or know of organizations or projects working with a community in other Central American or South American countries, please let us know.
Learning the Lingo
Whether it’s the local woman down the street who sells tortillas from her dirt-floored home, the woman running a hole-in-wall local café, or the student working at a travel agency, everyone we've met thus far has proven exceedingly patient with our limited Spanish skills. Because conversations with ordinary people on the streets, in the market, and on the bus are critical to our journey – and Spanish is within our reach – it's clear that we need to learn it.
So, we begin intensive Spanish language lessons on Monday in the town of Quetzaltenango. The program includes living with a Guatemalan host family and taking five hours of private lessons per day. We hope this level of immersion enables us to acquire the fundamentals; we are certain to have ample opportunity to practice.
Our Upcoming Publishing Schedule
During our studies, we will mainly post stories and photographs from the tail end of our Asia journey – Malaysia, Singapore, India and Nepal. Don't worry, we'll still offer updates of what's going on real-time.