Last Pictures of Guatemala

Click here // to see a wonderful article written for Maryville faculty and staff about our traveler’s recent adventures to Guatemala.  There’s also a photo album attached to this article.

Also, following are some pictures are travelers shared after returning from this amazing service learning experience.  (click on individual photos to enlarge)


And some additional photos from the village of Chichoy Alto:


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Our Travelers Visit Chichoy Alto Outreach!

Below is an email I received for the blog from our students, Carrie Dryden, Emily Cornish, Kalli Gibbs and Erin Ranz.  They visited Chichoy Alto on Thursday, May 26th – the day before leaving Guatemala on this memorable trip.

Today four students, two faculty members, and Hugo had the opportunity to go to Chichoy Alto,  a small village two hours away from Antigua that houses around 110 families. We left at eight this morning and went straight to the school. It is a primary school through sixth grade. When we got their we were ecstatically greeted by all of the children from the school who ran up to us with huge smiles and warm hearts. The director of the school invited all of the mothers of the students to attend this gathering to present each child with new school supplies. After taking time to present the supplies and talk and play with the children, we were welcomed into a family’s home for lunch. On our way we stopped to see the latrines built in March, and a couple homes to experience what typically living is like in this village. We had a homemade traditional Guatemalan soup for lunch, with rice, chicken and vegetables, and homemade tortillas and rice milk for a drink. This is an experience that we will never forget. We were impacted greatly by the kind hearts of the people in Chichoy Alto, and how although they have next to nothing they are willing to give everything.

This opportunity would have been possible without the donations, love, and support! We thank you all for allowing us to change lives today!

Carrie Dryden, Emily Cornish, Kalli Gibbs, and Erin Ranz

Below are some pictures of their trip to Chichoy Alto.  (Click on pictures to expand).



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Excursion to Panajachel!

Last weekend our travelers took a brief excursion to Panajachel where they got in a little R&R, sight seeing and shopping.  Here’s a photo after their first week at Hermano Pedro. 

And an alternate shot, as well as some photos of the local flower market (click on photos to expand):
Photos on the way to Panajachel!
A stop for food and to visit the marketplace!



Back on the road!
Zip Line!!!
Big high five for Dr. Briggs going zip lining and Dr. Kwoun holding on for dear life as they climb up the mountain on the back of a truck!
And to finish off this blog, some random shots of our travelers!


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More Updates from our Travelers!

Katie Norvell, adjunct professor and music therapy grad student and Anna Moffat, a music therapy student, wrote the following regarding their work and experiences:

What a week! After our adventure-filled weekend in Panajachel (pictures to follow on another posting hopefully later this afternoon), we have been hard at work back in Antigua.

The students at Hermano Pedro were very excited to have the OTs and the MTs back on Monday morning, and we were greeted with dances, instruments, and many song requests!  Monday afternoon was spent traveling to a nearby school for special education, La Pescena, which opened its doors only four months ago with the help of parents, siblings, and community volunteers.  Students with special needs such as autism, Down´s syndrome, CP and learning disabilities are educated each afternoon because they are not allowed to attend the local public schools in the mornings, and the patience and drive of everyone involved is truly incredible.  We had the opportunity to assist the students in making and playing their own instruments, and also had a blast practicing our colors and body parts with the help of Spanish songs and LOTS of balloons!  We left quite a few supplies for the school and look forward to future collaboration.

Both the MTs and OTs have also had a chance to meet with psychology students from Antigua in order to discuss our professions and the work we´ve been doing at Hermano Pedro.  Despite the language barrier (and thanks to the amazing Hugo!) the conversations were very successful and we were able to answer their many questions and offer suggestions and recommendations for specific populations.  We have made so many friends in Antigua, and although we miss our friends and family back home, we will be very sad to leave our new friends behind.

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Are Our Travelers Actually Working? The Answer is an Emphatic YES!!!!

Up to now I’ve only had pictures to post of our travelers’ hotel, the food they ate and some of the fun activities they’ve experienced.  Due to patient confidentiality issues, the purpose of their trip – a service learning experience at an orphanage in Antigua, Guatemala – has been overlooked on this blog.  Dr. Becky von der Heyde was kind enough to take pictures of our students interacting with the residents of Obras Sociales del Hermano Pedro that met the guidelines for patient confidentiality.   Read Dr. Becky’s email below on their activities and how they organized the therapy sessions.

Greetings from Guatemala! We have had a fantastic trip…filled with fun, food, and friendship as you can tell from the posts and pictures thus far. So you’re probably wondering if we are actually working?! Well the answer is YES!

We have spent each morning at Obras Sociales de Hermano Pedro; an orphanage/ residential facility for people of all ages with moderate to severe disabilities. During our preparation this past semester, we split into 3 collaborative OT/MT groups to plan activities for the clients. This plan has worked well as we have split the morning into two halves and rotate throughout the facility.  Each morning when we arrive, the early morning group of clients is waiting for us in La Escuela Especial (The Special School) and greet us with smiles, hugs, and “Hola! Buenos dias!” (Hello! Good morning!) The relationships we have created with the residents, especially in the school, are very special and I think that each of us is starting to realize how difficult it will be to leave on Friday.

One of our groups stays in the school for the early morning session while the two other groups rotate between the men, women, young men, and young women’s sections of the facility.  Much of our time in these sections is spent on basic skills such as eye contact, appropriate touch, and social interaction.  The benefits of music, sensory stimulation, and collaborative interventions for these clients cannot be understated. During the second half of the morning, another group rotates into the school and the remainder of our group heads into the children’s section. A few of our students have an opportunity to spend time in the nursery holding, feeding, and interacting with the babies. Many of the babies have cleft lip and and/or palate and are waiting for surgical teams to arrive.

One of the most cultural and inspiring activities we have participated in at Obras was taking the residents to church last Thursday. Each resident had their own place within the sanctuary and some had responsibilities during the mass. To hear the voices of the residents contribute in song at the beginning of the service was breathtaking at the very least.  We have also been given the opportunity to educate psychology students from Guatemala City on both music and occupational therapy and offer our professional suggestions for the residents at Obras.

We appreciate your support and hope you enjoy the photos of our work!

Thanks to Dr. Becky for sending the pictures shown below (click on photo to enlarge):

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Our group has been diligently working at the orphanage, but we are unable at this time to post pictures of the activities there due to confidentiality issues.  A professional photographer will be taking pictures this week and once the proper permissions have been received we may be able to post photos of their onsite activities here or in later publications.

Until then, please enjoy pictures of their adventures!  Again, I can’t thank Jessica (an OT student) enough for letting me use her photos for our blog.  Don’t forget – you can click on an individual photo to expand.

Although we can’t show pictures of our students actually working at the orphanage as yet, we can show you pictures of the students preparing and walking to work!


Eating has been a big topic – the food is so much better than they anticipated and they have taken many pictures of their dining experiences.



Next are some photos of our faculty posed with some dancers at a restaurant, our music therapy students performing at an open mike in town and a random photo thrown in for good measure.|
Hugo has been their interpreter and travel guide, along with his son Carlos and their friend Carol.  They have played a huge part in the success of this trip.
They’ve been taking random photos of street scenes, which are worth sharing!
And, some random photos of Antigua which give you some idea of the views they are enjoying! 
And I saved the best for last—miscellaneous group shots of our fearless travelers, including the infamous salsa dancing lesson!

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Notes from their Adventures – Wednesday, May 18, 2011!!!

Erin, Kalli and Lauren were kind enough to write the following about their activities for our blog. 

Wednesday was another busy and productive day in Antigua!!! The day began with the super yummy breakfast at the hotel consisting of an omelete, fruit (which is amazing), beans and chips.
We continued our work at Hermano Pedro while impacting the lives of many. Excellent collaboration between the OT and MT students have began to take place. Through collaboration we have brought joy to the lives of the clients at Hermano Pedro. The clients have greatly enjoyed the activities that we have done with them including singing and dancing, and creation of shakers and name tags. All the clients LOVE the music. From all of the OT’s, thanks to the wonderful and talented music therapy students for sharing your wonderful gift of music with us and the individuals at Hermano Pedro. The smiles that we see on all of their faces as we walk through the door will forever be imprinted on our hearts.

After our work at Hermano Pedro, we have a break for lunch. Today we ate at Luna Miel (Honey Moon), this is a restaurant that serves crepes. The crepes were savory, sweet and heavenly!!! We each got a crepe or a salad to begin, then we had a sweet crepe for desert. We are all ready to go back!! Overall, the food here has been very good, not what any of us expected.

After lunch, it was time for Spanish school. Each of our lessons are one-on-one with an instructor. Everyone is learning a lot, but our brains hurt at the end of each lesson. Today, we were able to end our lesson an hour early to take part in salsa dance lessons!! Everyone enjoyed getting out of class and also really enjoyed learning salsa. I think our Spanish might be getting better…We were all able to understand the instructor who only spoke in Spanish. Becky was by far the best dancer…well kind of….

While we are here, we have 3 of the best translators and have been very spoiled!! Hugo, his son Carlos, and their friend Carol have been with us each day to assist at the orphanage while also becoming our friends. Hugo also is our travel guide, and tells us the best places to eat! We would be lost without him!!

That is all for now! More to come!!
Erin, Kalli, and Lauren

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PICTURES!!!! (thanks, Jessica!)

 Here are some pictures from their first days in Guatemala!  Click on the pictures to expand.
Following are photos of their flight and right after they landed.
Here’s some pictures of their quaint hotel.


Out and about in Antigua, Guatemala!


Although my info is quite limited, I believe the following is Obras Sociales del Hermano Pedro, where our students and faculty will be working.
And here’s some photos of our group getting ready for their first visit to Hermano Pedro (and their difficulty reading maps and getting there!)
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Just In . . . Word from Dr. Briggs!!

I received an email this morning from Dr. Cynthia Briggs regarding their adventures in Guatemala:  “our brains hurt! We are trying to work in and learn spanish-more spanish at the same time. (Dr.) Becky and (Dr.) Cynthia spent the morning with the Psychology interns at the hospital today. It was a wonderful exchange of information and ideas. Tonight we are going to dinner at a traditional Guatemalan restaurant.”

Stay tuned for more postings today.  Thanks to Jessica Rector, I’ll be posting lots of photos soon.

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Our First Contact with Travelers!

Dr. Cynthia Briggs just sent her first email and here’s the scoop: 

Hola! We’ve had a great first day! Spent the morning meeting all of the clients we will be working with and the afternoon in 4 hours of spanish lessons. Wow! Our brains are on overload but it’s all good. The hotel we are in is charming beyond description and the people we have met are inspiring and helpful.

Picture to follow!

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