2022 Trip Report

 In June of 2022, a team of 11 from the California Bay Area spent a week in Panyebar, Guatemala. Our team included children, youth and adults. This trip was particularly special, because it was the first time members of Mayan Partners were able to return to Guatemala since the pandemic. Our four main goals for this trip were to reconnect and encourage Colegio Bethel students/staff, support Saludos Niños preschool, provide basic medical care for homebound individuals, and visit Trickle Up sponsored savings and credit groups. In each of these areas of Panyebar, we found the taxing impact of Covid to be quite evident; this made our presence seem all the more appreciated.

Colegio Bethel

Upon our arrival, students and staff from Colegio Bethel met us at the entrance of the Panyebar city limits wearing their school uniforms and holding handmade welcome signs in Spanish, English and Quiche. Their welcome included songs, dances and speeches. The colegio did not meet in person for classes for spring 2020 through fall of 2021. They began gathering in classrooms two or three days a week for the 2022 school year and were doing so when we arrived in June of 2022. Students used new iPads that were purchased to support remote learning. Throughout the course of the week, we partnered with students and staff to paint the basketball court, share art projects and play soccer and basketball. We were encouraged to see more teachers at the school who were Colegio Bethel graduates.

Saludos Niños

Saludos Niños preschool serves approximately 30 children under the age of 5. The teaching staff is made up of three full-time preschool instructors in addition to one full-time cook and an administrative director from a neighboring town. We had the pleasure of participating in the preschool activities while we visited. We were invited to share special crafts and lessons of our own choosing. The children are loving and seem to truly enjoy befriending newcomers. The teachers prepared the kids to perform a Guatemalan dance wearing traditional clothing. They also shared their hula hoop skills with us! We passed out school supplies for each classroom including puzzles, books, and craft supplies. We taught them how to make homemade playdough.

Medical Home Visits

This year, Nurse Practitioner Rebecca Hu served about 25 ill individuals in the village. She was assisted by various members of the team, but a teacher from Colegio Bethel provided names of those in most need of care. He guided her through the village to each home and helped translate from Quiche to Spanish.

Kids in Saludos Ninos - the preschool program

View of Lake Atitlan when hiking from San Pedro to Panyebar

Our team!

One of local businesses in Panyebar manufactures the brightly colored fabric used in dresses. 

The Colegio Bethel welcoming team

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