A contingent of 10 students, along with theology teacher, Ms. Sheila Geary, and two parent chaperones, traveled to Guatemala City, Guatemala during winter break as part of Marian’s service immersion mission trip. It was Marian’s first mission trip since February 2020. The group of seniors and juniors included Mary Dalou ’23, Ella Doerr ’23, Noelle Jankowski ’23, Anna Jennings ’23, Viv Kindseth ’23, Brooke Kouza’23, Molly O’Brien ’24, Julianna Prezzato ’23, Charlotte Quaine ’24 and Anna Zidar’23. Marian worked with the nonprofit organization International Samaritan to put their faith into action during this rewarding experience. The group spent their school break in Guatemala visiting community centers and schools, participating in service projects and spending time with nightly reflections on their experiences. Below is a diary of their visit.
The Marian girls and their chaperones went to a nursery and got a tour of the rooms where they met and played with the children. They had a parade with confetti-filled eggshells called cascarones they smashed on each other’s heads. Cascarones are typically used around Carnaval before the start of Lent. Next, they visited a 1st-6th grade elementary school where they visited a few of the classrooms and received a very nice welcome from the kids they had the chance to play with during their recess. Next, they spent time at the Family Life Center, which is a place where kids that are involved in the International Samaritan scholarship program, Paso A Paso, go. The kids welcomed the Marian group with signs, cheering, warm hugs, and a traditional Guatemalan dance. They also taught the Marian girls the dance so they could join along. The girls ate and talked with the Guatemalan students on topics ranging from their everyday life to school to all of their favorite things. After their conversations with the scholars, they visited one of the graduated scholars at their home which was a very eye-opening experience for them.
The girls observed Ash Wednesday mass in Spanish with the local community at the nearby church. Following mass, the group went to Walmart where they were split up into two groups and tasked with getting a list of groceries for a family of 5-7 for a week with a limit of 80 Quetzal which is equivalent to about $10US. After Walmart, they returned to the Family Life Center and helped clear out a room where they began building shelves. After finishing up the first phase of their project, they set out to spend quality time with the Paso a Paso scholars at a local museum and stopped for Gelato. Upon their return to the Retreat Center they had dinner and reflection time. During their reflection time, they built some sculptures with clay they were gifted from the museum.
They returned to Paso a Paso and finished their service project of cleaning and building shelves. They sorted all of their donations for distribution. They once again spent time with the Paso a Paso students and learned more about their culture, customs and foods. They also had the chance to play some of the children’s favorite sports such as basketball and football. The Marian group had the opportunity to share some of their recipes and traditions with the students which they enjoyed.
On their last full day, the group enjoyed a final breakfast with the Paso a Paso students before boarding a bus to head to Antigua with the children. Upon arriving, they enjoyed a coffee tour and learned how Guatemalan coffee is made. Following the tour, they enjoyed a home-cooked meal by a local family before setting out again to visit various markets. They memorialized their newfound friendships with the kids by purchasing matching bracelets there. Then the Marian girls said their bitter-sweet goodbyes to their new best friends. Their last stops on the trip were at the jade museum and a local Antigua restaurant. They spent their final night reflecting and recapping the life-changing trip.
About International Samaritan:
International Samaritan is an international nonprofit dedicated to raising the standard of living in garbage dump communities
. For 25 years, we have worked to change the lives of the most vulnerable people in the world through a unique blend of hands-on service and advocacy work.