Day 5: Grant’s Blog

Greetings from Guatemala!
My fellow ‘ASBers’ and myself have been very excited to share our daily activities and view your comments, thank you for your support! It is Wednesday evening, which marks the completion of day five on this incredible journey. As documented previously, we were awoken by the, now seemingly familiar, sounds and smells of the city streets. Our traditional Guatemalan breakfast consisting of a fried egg hash with locally grown tomatoes, onions, garlic, and pepper from the previous morning was substituted with what else but corn flakes cereal, fresh plantains, and of course warm milk and coffee. After visiting with Freddy and completing our meal, the group walked to a local woman’s house named Silvia. Here, Silvia shared with us the art of creating facial, hand, foot, and body creams or lotions. Silvia is the mother of one of the children in the young entrepreneurs program. Most of the children in this program are currently enrolled in classes at the local schoolhouse, so it was kind of Silvia to share some information about the program and the products made in her household. Every one of the trip got an opportunity to make either hand, foot, or facial cream from bees wax, various oils extracted from local fruit and nut trees, and various fragrances.
Once we left her home with creams in tote, we went back to our friend Filiberto’s house. Here we were given the opportunity to become educated on many different traditional Guatemalan products including: jade, jasper, and silver jewelry, hand bags, aprons, soaps, teas, carved wood boxes and trays, metal art, and many others. It was very interesting to here the testimonies of those that make and sell the specific products and also gave us an opportunity to purchase products made in and custom specific to the country.
Time is a very funny thing in Guatemala. When a store is opened in the morning or a farmer is meeting you that day, being early or late by several hours is seemingly accepted. Time also seems to move at a slow and relaxed rate. Back home with the hustle and bustle of day-to-day living where everything is scheduled minute-by-minute or appointment-by-appointment and one simply cannot find enough time in the day does not transcend to San Miguel. Midday or nightfall seem more appropriate and being punctual isn’t as important as just being there when you get there.
After lunch and a period of relaxation and digestion, the group marched off again to submerse our selves even deeper into the culture, this meant futbol (soccer)! The local game here is played on a cement field that’s duel purpose is used to dry coffee beans prior to being roasted. So there we were, on a stone field in the middle of a mountainous jungle backdrop playing a local twist on the game of soccer with Julio, the son of Freddy, and his friends Carlos and Rudy. Only myself and a few others had any experience playing competitively, thus this was both an interesting and delightful time of bonding while taking part in the world’s favorite past time.
The rest of our afternoon was spent dining at a new farmer’s home, Daniel, with Steve and Franklin accompanying us. Here we ate and discussed potential growth of the entrepreneurship programs in terms of consumer demand. Upon returning to our host residence, of which has now begun to feel like home, we broke off into our reflection groups and discussed our reactions of the last two days and what we, as a group, can continue to do once we get back to good old Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
Hope everyone is doing well at home and we cannot wait to get back and share what we have learned in more depth with you all. Buenos Noches!


8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Connie Brooks (Erica's mom)
    Mar 24, 2011 @ 21:37:25

    Wow, “Time also moving at a slow or relaxed rate,” & the non-competitive game sounds like a wonderful concepts to bring back to the U.S., thanks for sharing so much information! Can’t believe after one more day you will all be on your way home, and thrown into the hustle and bustle here, but of course newly skilled at making cremes look forward to those as Christmas gifts this next season! Be safe and enjoy the experience!!


  2. Lisa Hawes (Maddy's Mom)
    Mar 24, 2011 @ 22:51:33

    I sure wish for a slower paced life. Oh, yes that probably won’t be until I retire. Sounds like you guys are definitely throwing yourselves into their culture there. Can’t wait to here more.
    Lisa ( Maddy’s mom)


  3. Ken Larie
    Mar 24, 2011 @ 23:27:00

    Wow it is so amazing what you are learning in such a short time. Yes the concept of time itself differs across cultures. Colleagues of mine who work on reservations here in Wisconsin have shared similar stories that help us broaden our own perspectives.

    Grant I am sure you thoroughly enjoyed the game and bet both you and your new friends learned some new moves.

    Again we are so proud of you and everyone in your group. The time of reflection is an important part of the process.

    We are awaiting your return and even more stories.

    Best to all.

    Annette (Mom Larie)


  4. Serena Larie (Grant's little sister)
    Mar 25, 2011 @ 00:37:40

    This sounds truly amazing! Every stereo type we’ve developed doesn’t even come close to this wonderful place, and learning environment. I’m glad you all are having an awesome time, learning new ways of life, language aspects, and cultural hearth. I am super excited for you to come home buddy; I miss you more every day. Can’t wait for you to share all your stories, and new adventures. Till then, be safe, and have fun! Goodbye for now, love you. ~Rena


  5. Stan
    Mar 25, 2011 @ 03:44:17

    Interesting perspective. Mike–don’t be pulling that “late” thing for our staff meeting! Glad you guys are enjoying your experience. We’ve been enjoying the snow.



  6. Skip Karshna
    Mar 25, 2011 @ 03:48:50

    We (judi and I) have been following your very interesting visit to
    Guatamala. Leah, and we’re proud to know you’re there doing positive things rather than just wasting time. While we enjoy our foot of snow and listen to news from down there in the coffee plantations. We’re looking forward to hearing all about it when you return. Love you.
    Grandpa and Grandma. (Grandma is on a transfer to Minneaolis while I write this).


  7. Ken Larie
    Mar 25, 2011 @ 04:34:25

    Thank you Grant for that discriptive narritive of a day in your life on this trip. I can just here you telling me the lawn will get cut – some time in the afternoon – well, before dark anyway! (Don’t worry – be happy.) Winter roared back into Wisconsin with over 17 inches of snow in Green Bay yesterday. Maybe you can package Wisconsin snow as an exotic cream. Just freeze for a day, open and enjoy!

    Enjoy the experience! Thank you to your group for keeping us all informed.

    Dad Larie


  8. Robin Garcia
    Mar 25, 2011 @ 13:23:37

    Hi Grant!

    Your time in Guatemala sounds absolutely fabulous. Your reflections are so descriptive, I can almost close my eyes and see this beautiful place and the people. I can even imagine the wonderful aromas of food and, yes my favorite…COFFEE! I have read all of the blogs, but I especially enjoyed this one. I must admit, creams and jewelry are right up my alley.

    Love you!!!
    Aunt Robin


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