We took fifty sponsored middle school students on a trip to Guatemala City. After consulting with teachers, we invited students who made special effort in their classes so far this year. It was a recognition of their hard work. They had a great time.
First visit was the zoo in Guatemala City. Rated the best in Central America, the children were able to see animals ranging from Giraffes and Rhinoceros, to Gibbons and Leopards, all in their own areas, not cages. They had lunch in "Pollo Campero" (Guatemala's equivalent to KFC). After that, a guided tour of the former Presidential Palace, including banqueting rooms and areas not generally open to the public. The students paid nothing: the trip totally financed by part of a stock donation given us by a sponsor.
The immediate local reaction to the volcano tragedy was one of solidarity. Many people offered to collect items for the victims. All the secondary schools collected piles of tinned goods, toilet paper, diapers, packet foods, clothes, blankets and so on. Students from even the poorest families gave to help their brothers in need. A local school was used as a storage center, and pickups and trucks sent from there, to ensure all the aid given reached its proper destination. As happened in AGATHA, as always happens, the poor people gave from their little, not expecting the government to do anything.
The annual MARIMBA FESTIVAL was held in San Lucas on Saturday. The Marimba, Guatemala's national instrument, has to be played by a group. The wooden slats have tuning boxes underneath, to make a distinctive sound. Participants in the Festival included school and after school groups of all ages. They came from near and far, keeping alive the traditional music of Guatemala.