I hate to make it seem like Guatemala was just a scary place. There were so many great parts about Guatemala. My sweet host grandmother, who literally sprinted to the language school the day I got lost, taught me how to make tamales and wash my clothes by hand to save money. My host mother was so loving, and she helped me find a job to sponsor my stay in Guatemala. She let me pay by the week or the month, depending on whether my workplace had enough money to pay me that week.
My host family included me in all of the family celebrations---I got to be the photographer at my little sister's first birthday and baptism. They let me help prepare the traditional dishes, and then taught me to dance Marimba. They were incredibly sweet and kind.
The grandfather made me tea when I was sick, and taught me traditional Mayan cures for illnesses.
My Guatemalan host family made me feel as though I belonged. They included me, and taught me so much about Guatemala. Regardless of what else happened, they were always there for me, and for that I am forever grateful.