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Office of International Programs

2005 - Guatemala Service Learning Trip

For the second year, Minot State University Students and Faculty traveled to Guatemala to help in construction, assist in the care of the frail and disabled and help the poor. 3 MSU students traveled with 2 faculty members Allen Kihm, Geoscience, and Vicki Michels, Psychology, on this international trip led by Ruth Kihm, Social Work. Also part of the service learning team was Anne Citarella, a nursing instructor from Des Moines, IA. The trip took place May 16 -30, 2005.

Students mixed service learning activities, study, reflection and travel in earning university course credit. The group began preparation for the trip in January, 2005, studying the culture, history and social welfare components of Latin America, and specifically, Guatemala. In country service activities were coordinated with the GOD’S CHILD Project, Bismarck, ND, and la Asociación Nuestros Ahijados, in Antigua, Guatemala. Highlights of the two week trip included construction of a small house, serving a meal at a homeless shelter, shadowing local guías (social workers) on home visits to the poor in the slums of Antigua and San Felipe, assisting teachers and students at Escuela Especial Pedro de Bethancourt, a school for children with disabilities, caring for malnourished infants and children in San Juan Sacatepéquez, and assisting residents of Casa Maria, a home for the elderly. Additionally, the group participated in lectures and discussions with government and private officials on the topics of third world poverty, aftermath of the 36 year civil war on the poor and indigenous populations, and the growing problem of youth gangs in Latin America.

The group had the opportunity to tour the ancient city of Antigua, shop at indigenous markets in Chichicastenango and Panajachel, and attend an ancient Mayan religious ritual, Maximón, in Santiago Atitlán. They also spent two days touring Parque Nacional Tikal, an ancient Mayan city of steep sided temples and towering pyramids located deep within Guatemala’s northern jungles.