Luis, the friendly gentleman we’ve spoken so many times with over the phone welcomed us and set to work shuttling our group to the CRS headquarters in Guatemala City. The CRS team in Guatemala is truly amazing. We met Anne Bousquet, the director for CRS Guatemala and Mexico. She was about 5’7 in height, but somehow carried an aura of calm and collectedness. She was an incredible conversationalist and soon, we were collectively blown away by the breadth of experience she has had. She’s worked for 19 years, across multiple countries and functions. She and her team of 78 in Guatemala support multiple projects and partners in the region. She introduced us to the project and the legendary bishop Rossolino Branchetti Boffeli who has been a driving force for change in the region. We are ecstatic over the opportunity to meet him on Monday.
Aside from meeting with CRS, we also started probing the banana prices in Antigua and Guatemala City. One problem we never expected to have was the local peoples’ aversion towards photography. People feel that photography takes away part of their soul and do not take kindly to it. We were advised to ask first before clicking the shutter. However, we didn’t realize that people disliked others taking photos of their produce as well. So far, we’ve taken great effort to sneak in photos of bananas and plantains.
Over dinner today, we were also enraptured by professor Christine’s stories of her past. Apparently, she’s been to dozens of countries for work including India, Jerusalem, Ecuador (during wartime), Guatemala, Chile, much of Europe and countless other places I can’t recall. It’s great to have her give us feedback and advice throughout our journeys.