Clothing The dress in Xela is casual, but neat. Suits and ties are seldom seen, but neither are dirty t-shirts and torn jeans. You should bring a warm jacket and some form of rain gear. Students studying in
the months of December, January, or February (or anyone planning to hike Tajamulco!) should bring a warm hat, coat and gloves. Temperatures can drop below freezing at night and Guatemalan homes do not usually have heat or carpeting. Pack warm clothes! During the months of November to April, rain is rare but it can happen. From May through October, the weather is typical of a mountainous region: sunny mornings, followed by rain (sometimes heavy) in the afternoon or evenings. Temperatures in the afternoons are moderate to warm but nights and mornings can be very chilly and you should plan your wardrobe accordingly. Those who intend to participate in our projects or to hike in the surrounding mountains will need clothing suitable to these activities. Waterproof shoes or boots are recommended. You can check the current and predicted weather in Xela on a number of web sites, including http://www.accuweather.com. A suggested packing list includes three pairs of jeans, several long sleeved shirts, two sweatshirts, several t-shirts, a bathing suit, a big towel, a washcloth, sweat pants for around the house, socks, undergarments and a pair of shorts. Also bring a rain jacket or coat that a sweatshirt can fit under. Layering is the name of the game. To help decrease the amount of waste created by the school, we also ask that students bring their own water bottle (Nalgene, etc.) to refill at the school instead of buying plastic bottles of water. The school provides safe, filtered drinking water for students. Clinic Dress Code Students in the Medical Spanish Program should also bring appropriate clothing for their volunteer work in the clinic. We require that you wear closed-toe shoes, long pants, t-shirts or long sleeves. Scrubs are fine, and we have some to loan, if you do not have your own. Please cover any tattoos as they have a very different social meaning in Guatemalan than in other countries. Be aware that you should not wear anything that may be offensive or distracting to your co-workers or patients (ex: Gallo beer t-shirts). Try to choose simple, comfortable clothing. Layers are a great idea for mobile clinic days. Laundry There are many full service laundromats (wash, dry, fold) in Xela that charge reasonable rates. You can also wash your clothes yourself. A local laundromat also offers their service to Pop Wuj students. They picks up dirty laundry in the morning and return in the afternoon with the clean clothes. Gifts or Tools to Bring Because we do not assign host families until the weekend of your arrival, it is impossible to say in advance what type of specific housewarming gifts would be appropriate for your host family. In general we recommend generic items, such as small accessories for the kitchen (decorative pot holders, candles, coffee cups, and penlight flashlights), souvenirs from your hometown or university, chocolate bars, board games, ground coffee, or sports memorabilia (especially soccer). Donations for the Community Projects Please see our updated wish list for items that are needed in our community projects and in the clinic.