Church bells ring through my slumber, like a knife through warm cheese. I hear a rooster crow, followed by the sound of hens agreeing with his decision. I slowly find my way out of the dimly lighted room to find the volcano smoking, the bells ringing again, signaling the release of Mass.
As the sounds of everyday Guatemalans fill the air, our breakfast is served – savory granola with sweet bananas, milk poured over crunchy maíz flakes; I sigh with pleasure, the air sweet and pure : my first morning in Guatemala.

CT Experiential Learning Center (CELC) Middle School in Guatemala

I close my eyes as the van approaches the gallery. Soon the teacher explains that the artwork I’m looking at is made by kids half my age, the colors mix and mingle, causing my eyes to tingle. The day flies by, but I pay no mind. As hail, thunderstorm, sweat, mud bombard my senses, I begin to cry, cry with love of this country and the people in it. I cry with fatigue and excitement, I cry with passion.

— journal entry Jakob, international traveler and CELC student


Dear Friend,

Today is our second day in Antigua. Today we meet the kids from EducArte and spend the day with them. At first it is sort of awkward, but they are the kind of genuine people that it doesn’t matter if I can’t even sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star in their language – they are so patient and understanding.

One thing I notice spending the day with the EducArte kids is that there are some things that translate into any language – like smiles or laughter. By the end of the day we were making jokes together, and I noticed that our laughter is remarkably similar (that’s why I am remarking on it!), but more importantly, when we are laughing together, it doesn’t matter that we don’t speak the same language because we have made one of our own.

On a completely different (and thankfully less cheesy) note, today it rained. And when I say  “it rained” I mean it REALLY RAINED. There was even some hail! Since we are in Guatemala after all, the hail melted almost immediately after the rain stopped, but it was still hail! (Oh sorry – just realized I forgot to mention that May to October is rainy season!)

— journal entry Sue, international traveler and CELC student

                       ~Click on any image to view a scrollable gallery.