It has been four weeks since former Putaruru College students Cilla Mcivor and Caroline Mckinnon headed to Guatemala.
The 23 year olds are spending their summer with the Falconer family, former Putaruru residents and a mission family, in Guatemala City.
In the past weeks the pair have embraced the culture by attending a Christmas parade, church, shops, visiting a Mayan museum and Central America’s former capital city Antigua.
Cilla, having been an au pair in Minneapolis, Minnesota, for a year, knew since July of last year she wanted to do something different this summer.
She attended a wedding in Guatemala and wanted to go back as soon as she left.
‘‘I loved the richness of the culture, the people, the language and that it is very different from NZ,’’ Cilla said.
Caroline too has spent time overseas, an exchange year in Paraguay in 2006, and jumped at the opportunity to travel to another Spanish- speaking country.
‘‘ The funniest moment was when we were driving along a fairly busy three-lane road trying to find a park. People were running alongside both sides of the car shouting ‘ parque! parque!’ meaning park. I was surprised that no-one was run over,’’ Cilla said.
A few things both have had to get used to is travel illness, Cilla mastering the language and the presence of high security.
The greatest difficulty has been Cilla learning to speak Spanish but according to her, Caroline acts as her personal translator.
The travellers recently helped out at a vacation Bible school camp their hosts run for local village kids and intend to do the same in January.
Libby Kissick is a WINTEC journalism student
ON A MISSION: A Putaruru duo are making a difference this summer.