Roosters, music, and cold showers: A librarian’s experience in Guatemala

Librarian Debbie Chavez is traveling with Librarians Without Borders to spend time at a school library in Guatemala. Here's her first blog about her experience.

Read more about the Librarians Without Borders project.

I´m in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, to support a K-12 school with its literacy efforts through an organization called Librarians Without Borders. Being here is incredibly stimulating. The vibrant colors are everywhere - in the clothing, painted on the houses and buses, in the market, and even in the cemetery. I’ve been sleeping with the windows open and wake up to the sound of roosters crowing, buses and motorcycles passing by, and music. The music is everywhere. The other night I had to resist the urge to follow the sound of the band that I heard nearby.

The food and drinks are amazing. I’m normally not a coffee drinker. I prefer tea, but here, the coffee is wonderful. It’s not strong and bitter like that of the States.It’s clearer and lighter; it almost looks and tastes like tea. The other morning we were served a hot drink called incaparina. It was so filling that I couldn’t finish my breakfast. Our server said it’s made from wheat and that it’s good for the mind, increases energy, and gives you healthy bones. It was delicious.

I am in mango heaven! My favorite fruit is in season right now, and I could not resist the urge to buy one at the mercado and eat it there, on the street. It was ripe enough that I could take the peel right off with my fingers. It was that type of mango where I bit into it and the juice dribbled down my chin and arms. Pure bliss!

And what can wake you up quicker than coffee in the mornings? A cold shower! The first day here, I didn’t know how to turn on the hot water. I wanted to scream when I felt how cold the water was! We’re in the highlands of Guatemala, and it is cool here in the mornings and evenings. The second day someone explained how to turn the dial on the shower head and flip the switch for the electricity for the hot water. However, the water still wasn’t hot, it was just less cold.

The third day someone else told me that if you lower the water pressure, the water comes out warmer. That shower was divine.

The people of Guatemala have been kind, friendly, warm, and helpful. I feel fortunate to be here. I’m traveling with incredible librarians who love people and have a heart for helping others. I can’t wait to see what the rest of this trip will bring!



Series: A Librarian's Experience in Guatemala

  1. Roosters, music, and cold showers
  2. My hero, Jorge Chojolán
  3. Libraries in Quetzaltenango
  4. Library Day!
  5. Muddy Bums
  6. Hasta luego