Guatemala, Day 1

I was out the door at 2:15am this morning as my car arrived to take me to the airport. The experience was surreal. The airport was dark, check in counters were empty. I made it through security in record time (under 3 minutes from arrival at the airport to walking to my gate). It was eery. I don’t know if it was my trepidation at making this big trip and being away from my kids, or my exhaustion, but both plane rides left me feeling a little unsettled and restless.

I arrived in Guatemala at 3:25pm and by 4pm I was with my group at the hotel. The Guatemalan airport was almost as stark and empty as PDX was this morning which felt super strange. The city (what little I’ve seen) is beautiful.

Our group began with a bit of inspiration. A fellow participant shared his understanding of our Torah portion this week: As the Israelites sang to God they had anavah, humility. They noted that God is only God when we’re present to witness. So too, we must be present here to witness the lives, struggles, history and culture of this country.

We finished with logistics, had some introductory conversations about the people we’ll be meeting and then had some time to get settled before dinner. We met with an in-country consultant for the organization that sponsors my trip. He shared his fear and the fear of many in this country that the corruption of government and the current Guatemalan president will lead right back to another armed conflict. The dismantling of CICIG (government anti-corruption committee through the UN) is feared to be catastrophic. There are rallies and marches causing traffic delays. We’ll see more tomorrow.

Dinner was at a beautiful restaurant with a thatched roof and featured awesome potato taquitos and my favorite – LOTS of SPICE!

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Tomorrow we get into the meat of our work here. And, the day begins with a 7am walk with none other than Ruth Messinger!  

Time to rest up!

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