Hilary Hambrick Taft
Hilary Hambrick Taft
Guatemala 2013-2014
I am volunteering at the Monte Cristo Center in Chimaltenango, Guatemala. This family-run community development center provides education, healthcare, & vocational training to the surrounding community. I will assist with teaching English and computer literacy as well as possibly working on a micro-loan fund for local farmers. Read More About Hilary →

Expression Week

You know all those special activities you had in Middle School? Like talent shows, science fairs, and field day? Well, here in Guatemala we do them all in the same week. It’s called “Expression Week” and it’s the wildest, busiest, most fun week we’ve had yet here with our students at CEMOC.

The week started out with a talent show, which I was honored to be a judge at. The students preformed everything from “Party Rock Anthem” to traditional Guatemalan folklore dances. It was a blast and the 9th graders, our “Seniors,” if you will, swept the whole competition.



We also had a special recycling day where all the students were divided into groups to create and present a product made from recycled materials. My group made a nifty solar light made out of an old coke bottle.


An organization in the Philippines has been making these “Bottle Lights” for a few years in urban areas that don’t have reliable electricity during the day. The plastic bottle filled with water and clorox is installed in the tin roof and reflects sunlight down into the house, acting like a solar lightbulb.


We made a little makeshift house to show how the bottle works. We think it really inspired some of the moms and dads that came to “Recycling Day.” Plus, the kids thought it was pretty great as well. The director of CEMOC has even mentioned putting them in a few of our dimly lit classrooms.


Then on Friday we had field day. I’m not the most athletic and was of the ones most likely to fake an illness during field day in middle school, but even I’ll admit that this day was a blast. We had marathons, biking, zip-lining, and relay competitions. We were a really tired staff at the end of these 5 days, but it was worth it to see how much the students enjoyed it all.


ALSO- my family came to see me!! My awesome parents and little brother came to hang out with Eric and I for five days. They got to see a bit of the Monte Cristo life, meet our Guatemalan family, and explore Antigua a bit.




But for now all the activities are over and it’s back to teaching. We’ve got exams next week and are hoping for some excellent grades! Our students are already writing complete (and correct) sentences in English. We’re super proud of all that they’ve learned in this first semester and can’t wait to see how much they walk away knowing in October.


One thought on “Expression Week”

  1. We love seeing these pictures of your students, more so since meeting them earlier this month! The significance of your time together and the mutual lifetime impact will be in measurable. Thanks again to all the staff, faculty and family who hosted and served us so well during our visit to CEMOC!! We are honored to be connected to such an impressive organization!! Continue loving out-loud!
    PS Hilary & Eric are gifted teachers, eagerly sharing their knowledge, adapting to circumstances and inspiring their students. (This experience earns them “credentials” as educators, in my opinion!!)

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