All in Guatemala

What a day. Our Pilgrimage reached its apex with our visits to two Marist schools in Guatemala City and a visit to the Hermanistas.

It was interesting to watch the inner and somewhat dormant teacher in us all come to life at the two schools we visited. We had the chance to mingle with students and staff and learn about the challenges and triumphs of Marist education here in Guatemala. The students were pleased and proud to practise their English skills with us and we were made to feel very welcome.

We have found a land of incongruous contrast in Guatemala. The vivid colours and beauty of the plants and mountains juxtapose with the myriad of armed security guards, barred windows and razor wire that encase almost every building in Guatemala City. We sleep at night behind high walls, iron gates and supported by a security guard.


Buenes Dias!

Early to rise Pilgrims had a scrumptious breakfast with a large number of other tourists in this ‘soft tourist’ destination. We walked the few steps to the markets and spent two hours weaving our way from one stall to another – what a magical tapestry of colours and smells! The crowds of early morning locals were clearly of Mayan descent and the tallest reached only to our shoulders. All Pilgrims, no matter how far scattered among the stalls, found their way to the Church which rose above the market-place. The strong smell of incense and the sound of bells were irresistible and some Pilgrims joined the Sunday service with the locals – but no-one lasted the three hour Mass.


We set off in a much larger bus (a coach by anyone’s standard) for Antigua and Chichicastenango. We arrived in Antigua just before lunch and spent time shopping for souvenirs and soaking in the Mayan village experience. Br Edgardo who accompanied us had warned all Pilgrims that pick-pockets were rife. Well, Paul Herrick can account for the accuracy of this advice! Having just jumped off the coach, Paul was persuaded to have his shoes polished by a small boy. He quickly discovered that his wallet was no longer in his pocket and he desperately looked for the local ‘tourist police’ to report the atrocity. The police were terrific and found the culprit and Paul’s wallet was returned – a lesson for all!