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Quetzaltenango, Guatemala
March 1-9, 2014
Orphanage & Stone Stove Project
Coordinator: Oscar

It is hard to believe that the time has come for another spring break adventure. I was honored to be able to plan, lead and execute an International Alternative Break trip this year. I chose to go to Guatemala. When researching, Guatemala looked inviting due to their culture and projects offered. The whole planning process was much easier than I expected and I truly believe that I was given the absolute greatest team of 9 people from UCF than I could have ever imagined. My team worked harder than I’ve ever seen, embraced every new challenge and truly fell in love with Guatemala, it’s culture and people.

We stayed in a host family’s home right in the center of town. During the morning we would go work in an orphanage down the street and then in the afternoon we would travel to a native village and build stone ovens. Then, at night we would explore and do cultural activities such as salsa lessons and chocolate making.
At the orphanage there were many projects to be done, but mainly just playing and taking care of the children ranging from 1 month old to 13 years old. Some of the children had handicaps while others were not. The orphanage was a safe place for children who were in an abusive household, deemed suitable for those children to live there until either 1. Their parents shape up or 2. Until they are 13 and can find a family/friend to live with.

The stone oven project was significant as well because the village has a large amount of people who die from airborne diseases due to cooking over an open fire. The community needs ovens and stoves that will be not deteriorate their life span nor give them breathing problems. So, we built 4 ovens/stoves for this community.
Some of the amazing site seeing we got to do was drive the “Fuentes Georginas” which means Hot Springs. We got to relax in the hot springs and hike during our free day. This was a great way to decompress after a long week of hard work!

Another amazing thing we got to do was go to a chocolate making factory run by a local women who has chocolate making in her family blood! Her family had run this chocolate making factory for years. She was so kind as to bring us into her home and make us chocolate! It was delicious and a great experience!
One night our team was led by a Salsa Dancing enthusiast to dance the night away! We learned the basics of Salsa and were able to celebrate life together. This was a fun and funny evening…watching the boys shake their hips will forever be engrained in my mind! Haha!


A really amazing opportunity presented itself while we were there. It was actually Ash Wednesday when we were in town and so we were able to attend a Catholic mass held in Guatemala. The church was PACKED!! People stopped everything they were doing to go to mass, standing room only. It was a very intimate mass where we were able to celebrate God and begin the Lenten journey. I thought it was incredibly appropriate that it was Ash Wednesday while we were away…God sure does know what he’s doing, doesn’t he?!


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