May 2004

Dear all --

Well, as always, along with this letter you are getting our next year's schedule - for the year 2005. And since my first workshop was held the fall of 1995 -- that must mean I'm coming up on TEN YEARS !! Amazing. A marker, that's for sure. I've read that the 3 year survival rate for small businesses is only 60% . We (this would be me and that frog in my pocket) have more than survived. We've grown year by year despite a few setbacks due to conditions out of my control (like 9/11 or bad press re Guatemala), that we always seem to recover from within a year.

Guatemala is such a lovely country, as you all know. And because our instructors and consequently, the educational experience, is top notch. Also, last but certainly not least, I've worked hard to provide additional up close experiences for all of you. To meet locals, Pancho and Lidia, Zoila, Calixta, Nancy -- people you would never find through your average 'tour' or traveling on your own. Off the beaten track as they say. I think this is key to our success and what keeps people coming back. John Brandon (who took the travel writing course this winter, quoted a fellow participant in a story "this was not just a writing course, but an immersion into the Guatemalan lifestyle." I'm happy you feel this way... it's what I want to share about Guatemala with people who come down.

We had another good year. Best year ever, as a matter of fact!! Once again, an amazing number of folks returned for their 3rd or 4th time!! And for that, I am very grateful. Sometimes I get frustrated because there is so much more I would like to do with this program. I'm full of ideas,,, but as you all know... am maxed in terms of additional time and energy. My kidlets are growing and take, and deserve, a lot of my time. Jessenia is doing well. She finished 3rd grade and feels confident about entering 4th next year. And my Tommy boy will be starting kindergarten this fall. Isn't that totally amazing !!! He can do the 'big boy' things now. Played on a soccer team for the first time this spring and is at a fishing class right now. However, he hasn't slowed down - bummer.

So, to be honest, I am entertaining the idea of selling my business to a like-minded lover of Guatemala. Someone who could grow it in a way that I just can't right now, and wonder if I'll be able to get to in the foreseeable future. Since this letter only goes out to those who have joined us for workshops in Guatemala, I thought I'd put it out there, and see what happens.

So, we send our best regards and warm thoughts to all of you who have joined us, and become friends, over these past ten years. I hope you have a wonderful, creative summer, in all you do que le vaya bien. Come see us again in Guatemala !!

Abracos grande de Liza, Jessenia and Tommy boy,.


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