By Kennedy Jones

Today was our first full day in El Hawaii on the Guatemalan coast. We woke up to new sights and sounds that had been hard to recognize last night when we arrived. The beauty of the waves rolling in and the birds chirping was new compared to the bustling streets of the city.

We started off the day by meeting our new friends Willem, Lauren, and Mr. Viser who brought us breakfast. (They woke up at 4am in Guatemala City after their late-night flight to join us here early this morning.) They told us about trying unsuccessfully to find Paula who they were told sells beans, and how the lady who sold them tortillas ended up getting them beans. We ate breakfast and then headed out to ARCAS, a nearby NGO whose mission is to protect Guatemala’s wildlife along the coast. JJ and Andrea told us about the turtles they help protect along with other animals they rehabilitate such as birds, alligators, and fish. They shared that they had recently received a grant from Busch Gardens/Sea World to build new hatcheries. It was really cool to see how Busch Gardens has an impact on more than just Virginia but also internationally. Before we left, JJ was nice enough to tell us about his favorite nearby restaurants which led us in a good direction for lunch.

We then came back home to enjoy the ocean and everyone got in to experience the powerful (and misnamed) Pacific. Swimming through the powerful waves was a welcomed experience where even the most skillful swimmers were challenged. Thanks to Maggie’s deep knowledge of ocean swimming we all learned a few tips and tricks that made for a fun experience even when you got knocked around. Personally, this reminded me how every body of water is different and comes with its own challenges. After everyone was tired out we headed to our pool for a fun game of Marco Polo. This brought out everyone’s competitive sides. Although today was not as jam packed as others it was a nice way to ease our way into El Hawaii and all it has to offer. Personally it was calming to have a relaxing day to bond more as a group.

Overall this trip has been a learning experience that you can’t get in a classroom. I’ve been exposed to people from all walks of life here—the Meneses, Alvarado, and Hurtarte families who have sent their children to CCS; our lovely AirBnB host here Osman and his cute kids who welcomed us; all the roadside restaurant owners who have cooked and served us such delicious food; our tour guide who led us up the volcano. I’ve already been exposed to so much food that I’ve never tried before. It’s been a wonderful whirlwind of so many things that all connect into one big picture.

5 responses to “Magical Adventures in El Hawaii”

  1. MegMcNeill Avatar

    Kennedy, I love how you recognize this is a unique learning experience you cannot get in a classroom, and I also love how this trip made you reflect on the unique characteristics of various bodies of water. We know how connected you are to water and the sport of swimming, so it’s nice to see how you are reflecting on both your time in Guatemala and how this experience connects with your everyday life. I am glad you are learning and getting a lot of this experience!

  2. Ms. Kreider Avatar
    Ms. Kreider

    Awesome job, Kennedy! Keep making those connections and having these amazing experiences. It is true you cannot have many of them in the classroom, but do your best to bring them back with you and share with your peers and try to carry it into the classroom!

  3. jrhomer Avatar

    Kennedy, I can just hear the rolling waves and the chirping birds! 🙂 I am mindful that you adventurers all rushed nearly straight from the end-of-marking-period crunch to exams to packing up your rooms to graduation to this trip (whew!), so this magical day at the ocean that you describe sounds like a heavenly and welcome respite for all of you. p.s. you really piqued my interest about Busch Gardens and the hatcheries, and I’m off to the internet to learn more!

  4. jbyersccs Avatar

    Love hearing about those connections! Who knew that there was such a thing as Alligator rehab….that sounds like dangerous work! Who knew that Maggie was an expert Ocean Swimmer…yeah, Maggie. You go up a volcano, swim in the (not pacific–good observation, Kennedy) Pacific Ocean, play Marco Polo and eat new foods. This adventure sounds better and better every day. Proud to be a Seahorse!

  5. Larry Blanchard Avatar
    Larry Blanchard

    Dear Kennedy,
    For all in the group the variety and certainly Intensity are FOREVER. Culture is food, location and the great variety of folk – their age, their outlook and certainly past experiences in life. My 10 months in Colombia were awakenings in many ways. I was experiencing nearly total immersion though I still continued from my own perspective in our unique culture and from educating youth both in SA and at the secondary level at home. Enjoy your next year at Christ Church with even more intensity and appreciation than ever.
    From familiarly “Paw-Paw” L. Blanchard 11 June19

Leave a Reply

Blog at