Heading Down Guatemala Way

I am right now in the final days of preparation before heading off to GUATEMALA!!!

I will be refreshing my spanish language skills and volunteering in Quetzaltenango (Xela, pronounced: Shay-la, for short), Guatemala for 4 weeks this summer.

Quetzaltenango, Guatemala (probably technically under the 'Guatemala' label for the capital city).

I will be heading off with one of my college friends, Stacy, so I’m sure you’ll hear her name a bunch in future posts. Right now we are editing our backpacks. Although we will both be spending 4 weeks living with our respective host families we are hoping to change our return flights and do a little traveling. Luckily, despite many homes in Central American countries being featured on House Hunters International (HGTV Channel), it is still an extremely affordable place to travel and stay, even for two broke PhD students. We want to make sure we don’t have too much extra junk in our packs if we’re going to be hauling them around for a week or so.

We will be learning Spanish and volunteering through Pop Wuj (pronounced: pope woo). I’ve mentioned them previously, when I hinted at this trip. For less than it costs to live in New York City for one month we will be provided with a private room, 3 square meals a day, potable water, Spanish lessons, wireless internet (it is 2010 after all), social work experience and, of course, a great life experience.

Sinkhole in Guatemala City

My parents are somewhat worried about the state of affairs in Guatemala, what with the huge sinkhole, the landslides due to tropical storms and volcanoes erupting. To appease them and for peace of mind (and because I didn’t get any vaccinations) I purchased a travel health insurance plan for the duration of the trip. Although I typically don’t purchase any of type of travel insurance, considering I’ll be spending a month in a location where hepatitis and typhoid fever are possibilities (although unlikely), it’s better to be safe than sorry. Plus its great because I can use it for anything, not just emergencies. Instead of suffering through a cold and missing out on any great experiences I can just hop over to a doctor for some medicine and it’s 100% covered. And it covers lost luggage which is excellent considering I’m nervous about our luggage making the connection.

I finished my most important pre-excursion ritual Thursday (Manicure/Pedicure at my favorite salon in the Shoppes at Blackstone Valley Plaza), so now I’m going to finish packing and run some last-minute errands before heading south on Sunday!

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4 responses to “Heading Down Guatemala Way

  1. don’t fall in the sinkhole and have a good time!

  2. What are the hospitals/doctors like in Guatemala? If something seriously goes wrong can you expect to receive good treatment? Who cares if it is covered if you cant even get to see a doctor…

    Have fun in Guatemala! Try not to have to use that travel health insurance, haha.

    P.S. When do you get back?

    • The health care in Guatemala City (the capital and most populous city) is good, and since I am going to the second most populous city, it should be just as good…hopefully I won’t have to find out! The insurance also covers medical evacuations, so if I were to get hit by some stray magma or something and needed care that was above the regions needs I could get airlifted to the nearest modern hospital, or even back to the United States. Free helicopter ride! Also, as of now I get back on July 4th, but that may change. I shouldn’t be back any later than July 15th.

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