Friday morning we hit the road early! We drove 3 hours to a town on the other side of Guatemala City, a lovely little place called Antigua, for some well-deserved relaxation time. This was the capital of Guatemala for about 200 years until it was virtually destroyed by an earthquake in 1773, which led to the capital being moved to its current location in Guatemala City. Antigua is now famous for its well-preserved Spanish Baroque-influenced architecture as well as a number of ruins of colonial churches.
We spent most of Friday and Saturday strolling around town, exploring the markets, and visiting some of the old churches. Saturday morning we woke early to hike up Volcán de Pacaya. There are more than 30 volcanoes in Guatemala, a handful of which are still active. Fuego dominates the skyline in Antigua but we drove about 45 minutes to reach Pacaya. It was a demanding 8 km hike, climbing from roughly 7000 to 8000 feet above sea level. Luckily, there are strategically planned rest stops along the way! After my compatriots departed on Sunday morning flights, I had one day to myself which I decided to fill with a coffee plantation tour and some final photo ops.
Now it’s time to return home for my third and final internship before graduation. This trip has been an absolutely invaluable experience. I have learned so much from my new friends and colleagues as well as from the people we had the pleasure to serve. I gained so much confidence in myself as a clinician and know I will be a better therapist thanks to the work I have done here. I wish to continue this type of volunteer travel throughout my career and hope that many others will do the same.
Thank you to everyone who has been a part of my journey. Best wishes and ¡Feliz Viaje!