Letters from Guatemala

By Students in the U21 Global Classroom

Join a global team of students from UConn and other Universitas 21 institutions in Guatemala, as they learn about cooperation, global citizenship, and social entrepreneurship in the global virtual classroom and on the ground.

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Ben: Eye Glasses for the World’s Poor?

Having spent four weeks in Guatemala, if we think that simply because we participated in campaigns in Santa Lucia, Pinula, Concepcion, San Martin, San Pedro, Solola, Santa Catarina, Cantel, Tecpan, Conguaco, Zarogoza, and contributed to the overall sales of 160 reading glasses, 120 eyedrops, 4 water filters, 21 solar products, and 81 packets of seeds,…
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Looking Back on a Month in Guatemala

The trip to Guatemala lasted only one month. At the end, I was surprised at how much I experienced and learned in this short amount of time. I learned a lot about Guatemalan culture and history, lived with two different families, upgraded my Spanish speaking ability, learned how to navigate myself around the cities of…
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Tim: The Chicken Bus

I jolted back and forwards, wedged as the third person (or was I fourth?) on the edge of a two-person seat on a Guatemalan chicken bus. The narrow space between the seats was crammed with even more people. Overhead, Guatemalan pop music played loudly, its rolling bass and trumpet-laden melody providing a stark contrast to…
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Lucille: Slapstick as a Marketing Strategy

Hola Amigos! We are over half way through our trip, and all is well here in Guatemala! As you will have read, our first week was orientation in Xela. This involved mucho estudio de español and an introduction to the Social Entrepreneur Corps. The second week, just passed, provided a taste of the education, publicity,…
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Ella: Why Do I Love Guatemalan People?

Why do I love Guatemalan people? They let you take precious minutes of their life talking about something they might not be particularly interested with a big smile on their faces and no hint of discontentment. They give you the best meal while they have plain beans and tortillas. They are patient with your poor…
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The Campaign for Fresh Water in San Martin

The day began with the usual chicken bus journey to San Martin (complete with a soundtrack of the latest pop hits feat: Pitbull and J-Lo). Upon arrival we met up with our asesora Josefina. During setting up our stall, some of us with bountiful yet unjustified optimism ducked off to grab a coffee, only to…
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Ella: A Trip to the Glass Factory

During our first week in Guatemala, I went with my Spanish teacher to a factory near Xela which produces blown glass. It certainly intrigued me as I have never been to a similar factory anywhere in the world, and my Spanish teacher promised me that it will be a very interesting experience. It started with…
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Tim: A Shout Out to a Couple of Special Ladies

I just want to make a quick shout out to a couple of special ladies who have made my time in Guatemala unbelievable. My home-stay mothers. They have welcomed me into their houses, put up with my terrible Spanish skills, fed me endless amounts of food, and have cared for me when I’ve been hunched…
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Ben: Scaling Central America’s Highest Peak

After conducting our very first Eye Campaign in Commucion, a small town about 2 hours from Xela (Quetzaltenango), six of us from the team prepared ourselves for an overnight expedition to Volcan Tajumulco. At 4220 m (13,845 ft), Volcan Tajumulco is the highest mountain in Central America. I was initially a little apprehensive, since it…
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Rebecca Lo: Work Hard and Play Hard in Antigua

For the past week, our group has never been more restless! In Conguaco and San Pedro, Guatemalans flocked to the town hall to attend our presentations about the micro consignment model products and sales campaign, and we conducted more than a hundred eye exams. My responsibility that day was to conduct a simple inventory and…
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