Mickey reflects on his time in Guatemala with the International Program

September 15th, 2015
Mickey and William

Group Leader William Sandy (left) with Mickey Iqaqrialu (right).

We arrived in Guatemala at midnight and took some time to settle in and rest. The next afternoon, Luchofigo, one of the Team Leaders, came to get us at the hotel and then we drove for an hour and a half from Guatemala City to Antigua. Luchofigo showed us around Antigua and there was festival we got to enjoy as we walked around. We then drove 1 hour to our host community in Tecpán, Guatemala where we had an open ceremony to meet the volunteers and masons from Habitat of Humanity. We greeted them and told them our names and where we are from.

On August 27th, we started to work at Santa Cruz near Tecpán, Guatemala, which is about a 15-30 minute drive from our hotel. On our first day of work, the masons taught us how to do rebar and make concrete. Ronnie, one of our Habitat for Humanity leaders, showed us around Tecpán. We worked for the next couple of weeks on our house-building project. Then on our last day in Tecpán, we got a special treat of hamburgers and fries at the restaurant! One day later, we drove to Panajachel Solola, Guatemala but we stopped at an outdoor market to stretch our bodies and take a group picture with a beautiful volcano behind us. We were the first to arrive to the hotel, and then Team Turbo met up with us. We then walked around Panajachel and went to explore a nearby lake. The next day we went to work and made a smokeless stove in Panajachel. It took us 5 hours, but the next time we made one, it only took 2 hours.

We went on a boat ride from Panajachel to San Juan La Laguna, which took about 30-45 minutes. Once we arrived, we went to a ladies clothing store to learn how they made clothes from yarn dyed from plants and fruit. We bought some clothing for ourselves and our families. We also went on a coffee tour. We took a boat back to Panajachel and took a group vote of what to do, and most of us chose to go to the market. Finally our last day in Panajachel came and we drove back to Antigua, where we got to hike 8km up a volcano and roast marshmallows in the dry lava! We had a blast. We said our goodbyes to Luchofigo and Ronnie. That night, there was lightning and thunderstorms. One of our Group Leaders, Chelsea, told us to go inside because it was getting dangerous outside. In the morning, there was a mini earthquake. We travelled to Guatemala City to catch our flight back to Ottawa. The NYA Staff met us at the airport. We finally smelled nice, cold, fresh air! I spent my last few days with my International Program family, but I had to leave Re-Orientation early for a medical appointment in Iqaluit. Two days later, I flew home to Arctic Bay after 2 months of being away! Thank you for reading my blog.

– Mickey Iqaqrialu (International participant)

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