My name us Austin Good, and I live in El Chal, Petén, Guatemala C.A. I work primarily to plan the journeys of the JBYM visitors that visit us here in El Chal and at La Anchura. I also help where I can here at the Mission Base and in Stephan Gingerich’s office at school. Sometimes I am asked to drive the school bus, and just recently I had the great experience of driving the bus for the second grade class trip. We left the school at 8 a.m. and returned around 5 p.m. We visited Xipanpajul, Pollo Campero, and Singapur.

Xipanpajul – Is a nature preserve just a half hour drive from El Chal. We walked through the Sky Way trail and it was exactly as it sounds. A series of trails and swinging bridges took us up hills and across valleys with spectacular views of the Guatemalan jungle. The second grade class clambered up the trails and crowded across the swinging bridges to reach the Mirador (overlook). This is outfitted with hammocks and picnic tables where the class could eat their snack, study their maps, and count their money, with the intent of buying even more snacks. Arranging for a class picture took some time and resulted in some classic second grade humor.

From Xipanpajul we traveled to Pollo Campero, the McDonalds of Guatemala, and a favorite of the large and small.

Singapur – boasts a series of pools and slides, water and sun, that warmed the hearts of the second graders even more than the 95 degree day. We spent several hours here swimming and splashing throughout the afternoon.

It was encouraging to spend this day with the second grade class. I held the hand of an unsure boy as he navigated the steep path of Xipanpajul, and caught the same boy as he came down the water slide at Singapur. He couldn’t swim, but was determined to be a part of the fun on the water slide. Vulnerability and daring as lived out by a child is important reminder of the way life should be lived.

At the Tree of Life school (Árbol de Vida) the teachers work to bring out the best in the students. Vulnerability and daring, competition and compassion, wisdom and understanding.

Life and the meaning of it.