After we settled into Panajachel for a bit and checked out the area briefly for new products, Jonathon and I were very excited because we were expecting two very special guests. Both of our sisters, Kaylee (Quinn’s sister) and Caira (Jonathon’s sister), were planning to spend the beginning of their summer with us in Guatemala to help us out with LOOTB!
It was the best of both worlds because not only would we be able to to spend some quality time with our two awesome sisters in a new foreign country, but we were also getting the help we needed as the company was growing faster than ever.
The first to get in was Caira Button from ASU (Arizona State University).
Caira had visited us the summer before in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua and had also been helping us out with our shipping back in the States.
Her biggest passion was giving to the children, as this was her favorite aspect of the business and what she wanted to do after college, so we were excited to have her help us out and experience the giving of school supplies first hand.
A couple weeks later, Kaylee Vandenberg (aka KK) arrived in Guatemala City from California.
KK had just graduated high school and was preparing to leave for a year to study abroad in Belgium. She too had visited us in Nicaragua when we lived in Laguna de Apoyo and was eager to be a big part of LOOTB.
KK had a great passion & talent for art and photography and wanted to develop these skills further while also learning about our process of giving school supplies to the kids.
We were very excited about having both of the girls in Guatemala to help us expand LOOTB. We decided that Quinn was going to stay and work on LOOTB while I jumped in a shuttle from Panajachel to Guatemala City for a 6-8 hour roundtrip ride to pick up the girls. Our biggest concern was the girls’ safety, hands down, so it was important to us both that one of us was there to grab them.
Upon arriving in Guatemala City the whole environment quickly changed. We had heard that Guatemala City was the most dangerous place in the country, so I did not want to spend too much time there with the girls. As we entered the city, I noticed the shuttle driver locked all of the doors and rolled up all of the windows.
I starred out of the window hoping to learn more about the city. I saw people jogging in the parks, which gave me the idea that maybe Guatemala City was not that bad after all, however the shuttle driver explained that the city had many parts that were very dangerous. He then went on to tell me that once he was held up at gun point by 10 guys to steal his car in broad daylight.
After that story, I was not in the mood to explore Guatemala City–I just wanted to get in and out as fast as possible each time I went to get the girls. After the final trip into Guatemala City to pick up KK, we were all relieved that we didn’t have to go back there again–we liked our safe new spot on the Lake.
When we were all finally together in our two bedroom little home in the heart of Panajachel, we couldn’t wait to get started on meeting with local NGOs to give out school supplies. Both girls were smart, passionate and driven and gave us a fresh new perspective on things–they were exactly what we needed in Guatemala to expand LOOTB.
They were pursuing their dreams of traveling and helping others and we were honored to be a part of making that happen for them. With our new team together, we knew we could accomplish everything we set out here to do. We were excited to see what we could all do and to make some fun new memories living Life Out of the Box with our little sisters.