By Carrie Saathoff, Co-Chair of the Guatemala Partnership of New Castle Presbytery
What a trip! I first want to say how impressed I was with this tenacious group of travelers. True gems! We had very full days filled with new sights and sounds, situations that pushed us outside our comfort zones, and experiences that will reshape who we are and how we see the world. These 16 travelers persevered without a single complaint, misstep, or issue. They even stayed up late at night to get their blog posts out. A huge shout out goes to Chris Hickey who provided technical support stateside to be sure the posts looked good and got out on time. Thank you, Chris! We hope you have enjoyed following along with us.
The travelers have all returned home safe and sound, except for me. I am staying on for another 10 days to rest, travel, and attend the CEDEPCA USA Board meeting. First I went to Antigua to relax after such an intense week and was lucky enough to spend some time with PC(USA) Mission Co-workers Betsey and Eric Moe and their two teenage children. A gem of a family. The Moes have been in Guatemala for a year now and just created this fun video update: A Moe Hello. Check it out! It has been wonderful to get to know them and we already have plans to host them in early June when they visit New Castle Presbytery. Stay tuned for details – you’ll have a chance to meet them too.
After a few days in Antigua, I took a puddle jumper plane up to Flores in the Petén region of Northern Guatemala known for its dense forests, gorgeous lakes, and thick humidity. But above all, the Petén is home to the country’s most famous gem: the Mayan ruins of Tikal.
After more than a dozen trips to Guatemala, it is a dream to finally be standing here in this sacred place. Tikal National Park is a 220 square-mile showcase of the architectural remains of a great Mayan civilization that spanned from 600 BC to 900 AD. Feel free to Google the history to learn more.
Tikal is also known for its rich biodiversity: a jungle canopy filled with thousands of species of trees, fauna, and animals. Today alone I saw toucans, coatis, ocellated turkeys, spider monkeys, and howler monkeys. If you ever get a chance to travel to Tikal, be sure to do it! It’s a “howl” of a good time; have a listen below. Tomorrow, I’ll head back to the capital to meet and travel with the CEDEPCA Board and staff for five days and will send a final update about those activities soon. Thanks for following!