lessons from the polochic


#1 – rain showers are the best showers.


#2 – be ever grateful for a bed, flushing toilets, electricity, etc.

where we stayed, in the nueva concepcion schoolhouse

#3 – the polochic valley, alta verapaz, guatemala is one of the prettiest places on the planet.

these pictures are completely pathetic compared to reality.
i’ve seen lots of beautiful places – and i’m saying the polochic deserves a solid place in the top 5.

#4 – the q’eqchi’ people are the sweetest hearts.

as we drove by on the cattle cars, people would run out of their houses squealing to wave.
this is santiago, choice humanitarian’s main man in the polochic.
he is such an incredible, humble, wonderful man.
our last night he played us songs on the guitar under the stars.

#5 – there are some crazy bugs in guatemala.

my bug bites left with with major, major cankles. this is about half of the swelling.
i couldn’t walk one night! what an adventure.

#6 – true happiness is simple.

on day 4, we got to shadow villagers in their homes, and see “a day in the life.” josh, daniel, sarah and i went to katharina’s house and helped her make tortillas. we met her daughter and husband, saw her cardamom fields, tried the 6 different types of bananas in her kitchen, and answered her questions about our daily life in america. it was fascinating cultural exchange and despite all the differences, we bonded as humans. katharina’s life is so simple, but she takes great joy in what matters most – family and faith.

#7 – the gospel is true, the church is global, and dang, it is really great to be a mormon.

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in the middle of the middle of nowhere, there is a mormon church with a thriving q’eqchi’ branch.
we met with the local members and had a talent show. the spirit is thick in that building and the people glow with faith. their heritage connection to the book of mormon and stalwartness in such remoteness is amazing. we met one of the first members in the area and loved being with the kids.

#8 – there are few things more magical than a night cattle car ride
through the mountains under the stars.


#9 – remember to delight in simple pleasures.

it is incredible to watch the glee of these kids at the smallest, simplest things – bubbles, nail polish, pictures, a funny face. there is no sweeter sound than the pure streaming light of a guatemalan giggle – and they were so abundant. these kids were unentitled, hard-working, and so easily entertained!

#10 – there ain’t no party like a polochic party


a full marimba band came up to our village on our last night and we had a rockin’ dance party. it was so incredibly hot and i doubt i’ve ever been that sweaty, but it was also so, so much fun. i got to hang out with that cute baby, dance my heart out with my friend edgar (he copied my every move) and perform the “efy dance” that we had learned for the talent show to marimba music!

the q’eqchi’ people taught me so much. i thought a lot about relative poverty, and how rich these people’s lives are in their simplicity, closeness to the earth and god, family and community ties, genuine love for life and gratitude for blessings. i hope i’ll always remember and re-remember what my heart learned in the polochic.



  1. Nicely done, Charity. Such great lessons to learn and hold on to. Thanks for sharing. Tess (Aja's mom)

  2. You're bringing back so many memories!! Oh what a gorgeous place. I'm so glad you had such a great time.

  3. Loved this post Char. And don't think I wouldn't notice you sportin my dance move. So proud... :)

  4. Your ankles are CRAZY!! Love your hair in braids and can't wait to hear about your next adventure! Are you running Ragnar? Hope to see you soon!

  5. love this, don't know how I missed it. will you come watch our kids so Jeff and I can go to polochic? He's always raved about it, but now, seeing your pictures, I believe his stories!