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Daytripper: Cool Trips. Close by.

Daytripper is XelaWho’s regular monthly series on day trips within easy reach of Xela. This month’s article is called: The Shortest Trek in Central America.

By Wonkey Eye of Quetztaltrekkers

Pretty much every tourist in Xela knows about Quetzaltrekkers’ amazing treks to Santiaguito, Tajumulco, Santa Maria, the Fuentes and of course the trek to Lake Atitlan, but few know about our shortest trek: a one to two hour trek that contributes to an organic communal garden. A recent study has shown almost 60% of Guatemala’s children are malnourished, so the garden helps approximately 40 women grow vegetables and herbs to meet their families basic nutritional needs.

How/why was this trek started? Since all the meals eaten on treks that aren’t in comedores are prepared by Quetzaltrekkers, we accumulate a serious amount of organic waste. Not wanting to throw it in the dump (which can be safely assumed to be overflowing already) and not being allowed to keep a pig in Casa Argentina, we searched high and low for someone who could convert it into something useful. Eventually all the way out in 27 Avenida 8-68, Zona 1 we found somewhere to turn our trash into treasure, at an organization called El Nahual.

El Nahual Community Education Center was founded in 2004. Along with supplying land and resources for the communal garden, they help the surrounding community by providing lessons in maths, Spanish, English, art, cooking and many other important subjects for anyone who is 8 years or older. More info on El Nahual can be found online at www.languageselnahual.com

The trek is one of the QT guides’ favourite mid-week activities, but so far the tourists of Xela have shown little interest in “the shortest trek in Central America.” This is hard to believe, considering only 20 minutes into the hike we leave the hustle and bustle of the concrete jungle behind and walk amongst the cows and cabbages. Outside the city there’s great view of the chaos of town and the many vibrant colours of the cemetery.

Once we drop our load into the compost heap we have a chance to contribute some good old-fashioned toil, such as turning the soil or compost and maybe even building a better fence to keep out the ever hungry dogs and cows. Feeling satisfied from our hard work, we start the trek home passing through the cemetery.

If anyone is interested in the shortest trek in central America or any of the Quetzaltrekker hikes, just stop by our office in Casa Argentina.

-Wonkey Eye is a full-time volunteer with QuetzalTrekkers

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