Team Guatemala: A Friendly Welcome

Stepping off of the plane, we were welcomed with a fragrant, cool breeze, the call of exotic birds and a throng of all too eager taxi drivers. We have finally arrived in Guatemala. Our team consists Holly, Karla, Kathleen, Anton, David, Eddy, and myself, along with our counselor professor Christine Cervenak from the law school.

Luis featured on the left

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.

Bananas in a Farmer's Market

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.

Street in the wealthier part of Guatemala City. Notice the different architectural styles. This was a trend across the city

Team Guatemala: Getting Ready for the Trip

And with a blink of an eye, a mod has passed. We are only hours away from embarking to Guatemala. All the research, studying, thinking and packing we have done to prep ourselves for this trip will soon be put to the test. Soon, we will leave behind the comforts of home and take on the role of “The Other”, strangers from another world. Please check back regularly for highlights from our journey.