We pack our bags with anything and everything that our little mountain girl minds can think of; excessive amounts of Polysporin (not used once), waterproof knick knacks (including playing cards, now worn), and dense, maleable, cumbersome protein bars jammed into every nook and cranny. We downsize as much as possible: "Rachel, I really think you are going to regret packing around that 2 litre bottle of TreSemme conditioner".
After a sleepless night in Calgary we make our way to the airport, miraculously we do not weigh over the limit, and then we make our way to Texas, where we wait and wait and wait, and then fly again. Long journey, but well worth it.
We arrive in Guatemala in a daze. We desperately try to locate the man with the "Rachel and Leah Maximo Nivel" sign, among throngs of taxi drivers and hotel owners. We can't find him. Then he finds us - names misspelled, nothing official about the guy, not a word understood between us.... we follow him to the Guinness Tours shuttle and ride off into the night. A fellow volunteer from Wisconsin joins us, so we feel safe.
After 45 minutes we arrive. Cobblestones, lengths of stucco buildings with doorways every 12 feet, and a few dim lights. Entering one of the doorways we are instantly relieved. Stained wood details, burlap seat covers, shiny, beautiful faces smiling and waiting and welcoming us.... Our homestay feels safe. We gather bits and pieces of information from Patsy (our host mom), brush our teeth, and fall into a deep sleep in our upstairs bedroom.
We can't wait for the sunshine in the morning !