Our schedule over the last two weeks has been consumed by visitors from the US. It started with Brennon, a good buddy from my college days that was with me during the early stages of Spring Back Recycling. In two days, we spent about 8 hours on the motorcycle just trying to see as many backroads as our wheels would show us. On our second day we traversed some of Guatemala’s worst roads to reach Volcano Pacaya, Central America’s most active volcano that sits just a few kilometers outside of Guatemala City. Our guide up the Volcano, Marina, was a great host and spoke proudly as Pacaya fumed billows of Volcanic ash into the air. We roasted marshmallows over the heat vents on the mountain and ran around the slippery sand hills.
The rest of a large Belmont group showed up a day later to make the trek towards the coffee mountains in Central Guatemala. I made that trek for the first time five years ago and this was the 3rd group I had been with to travel the country studying the economics of cafe.
Not only was this the funniest group I’ve traveled with, but each of the students arrived with a heart open to embrace new cultures and experience everything Guatemala has to offer. When they left on Sunday Morning, I said goodbye to a group of amazing people that I will consider from now on as my own family. They fought through debilitating sickness and cold showers to understand the heart of Guatemala as best they could in their short time here. Obviously, Guatemala has affected Hilary and I deeply, and I pray that it will do something similar to the lives of my Belmont family.