A special delegation was requested by Soka University professor Sarah England for January 2009. Soka University is sponsoring “learning clusters” for students, giving a dozen students the opportunity to travel abroad during the brief session between Fall and Spring Semesters.
The delegation arrived early Saturday morning, and after breakfast and exchanging a few dollar for Quetzales (at the improved rate of Q7.70/$) we went to Antigua for some sightseeing.
We were in Guatemala to learn about femicide and the people that work to end it, but winding down after an overnight flight in beautiful Antigua, plus doing a little souvenir shopping, was well recieved.
Sunday happened to be the birthday of one of our scholarship students, so we took her for a birthday celebration to Nais, reportedly the largest aquarium in Guatemala.
This was a really unusual establishment: you pay to get in, and it is basically a restaurant. We had drinks and dessert, and celebrated the birthday girl’s special day.
The aquarium was pretty cool, with sharks and angel fish and many of the species that are familiar to divers of Caribbean waters.
What I found strange was the ubiquitous advertising! Sure, corporate sponsorship is needed to fund the labor- and technology-intensive task of keeping the aquarium viable, but is it necessary to put the ads in the tank??
Monday was REALLY full: we saw Claudia from Fundacion Sobrevivientes, Norma Cruz spoke to us briefly, we visited Cafe Artesana and heard from Sandra Moran, then ended the day learning from CICIG’s Claudia Samayoa. The delegation got their school’s moneys worth that day!!