The Guatemalan delegates and Sister Parish members started the day by boarding a bright yellow school bus for a tour of St. Paul’s Promise Neighborhood. Melvin Carter III, Director, Office of Early Learning at the Minnesota Department of Education, rode with us through the heart of St. Paul’s historic Frogtown and Summit-University neighborhoods. He spoke about this area of diversity and disparity, of challenge and opportunity – and the community-based supports being put into place to provide quality education for children. The tour triggered a deep conversation about creating healthy communities during lunch at Golden Thyme Café.
Next stop for the yellow bus – the Minnesota State Fair, dubbed the Great Minnesota Get-Together! We split up into small groups to take in all the sights and sounds and smells of the state fair. Some visited the agricultural buildings and animal barns (loved the fluffy white chickens) and others watched the daily parade complete with Clydesdale horses and marching bands. And of course, we consumed our fair share of pronto pups, cheese curds, mini-donuts and ice cream.
We collapsed on the bus to ride back to St Joan of Arc Church for an hour of reflection and rest. But the evening wasn’t over – the delegates had been offered special passes to see the world-premiere exhibition Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed at the Science Museum of Minnesota. Several of the delegates and their host families wrapped up the day by exploring the complexity and diversity of Maya culture at this wonderful exhibit. It was very relevant to our Guatemalan friends since more than six million Maya still inhabit Guatemala, Belize, and several states in Mexico.
Last but not least – a big shout-out to volunteer bus drivers Bob Nuenfeldt and Steve Pesavento. Thanks for rollin’ with us!