This week, the Miguel Angel Asturias Academy had visitors from Illinois State University. A group of 26 students and staff have come to Xela during their Winter break to experience Guatemala and learn about the school. The students have been assisting in a variety of ways through cleaning, painting, and more importantly helping to establish our new library. The new library is a great addition to the Academy and it is going to be wonderful to see how the students will react to the positive changes that are occurring.
My name is Bethany, and I am one of the participants on this trip. I am an elementary education major at Illinois State, so I have really enjoyed learning about the history of the Academy and the plans for its future. My time here so far has been an incredible learning experience. Malea has been our site coordinator here, and she has been assisting us throughout the week. I have learned so much from speaking with her. Any question I have, she has an answer. Her determination and drive to seek knowledge has been a great example for all of us. This is an experience that is going to stay with me forever. I have loved the cultural emersion that has ensued during this past week, and I look forward to the rest of my time at the Academy. The strength and perseverance of Jorge, the director and co-founder, is inspiring and I am so grateful for the generosity that I have encountered throughout my stay here.
We arrived in Guatemala City on December 27th and we will be heading home on January 7th. While our departure date is fast approaching, I look forward to sharing the stories with friends and family. I came into this trip thinking that I would be servicing the school, but in reality, the school and people I have encounter have been the ones to impact me.