Dozens of people abroad with Canadian Mennonite University's Outtatown program are currently unable to leave Guatemala and are waiting for the government to send help.

Borders in Guatemala shut down seemingly overnight, forcing a group of 42 people working abroad to hunker down and wait for instructions.

cross on the hill group photo 2
"We feel blessed just for this country and the people we have partnered with."

Site Leader Shawn Dearborn notes as birds are singing around him that where the group is currently situated is "not too bad" of a place to be in as they wait. 

"It is beautiful. Right now I am looking at the three volcanos that we are living in between and flowers, birds are singing, there is sunshine on my back," Dearborn says. "We feel blessed just for this country and the people we have partnered with."

To pass the time, the group is debriefing on their experiences and enjoying each other's company.

Dearborn says that a big focus in their program is an "emphasis on the unexpected" and believes their program prepared them for this experience.

Currently, there is a curfew in place in Guatemala from four p.m. to 4 a.m. and Outtatown participants are asked to stay in their San Pedro home.

"Guatemala is taking this COVID-19 business very seriously," Dearborn says. Dearborn says the Guatemala program has been running for over 20 years and they are being well cared for.

Despite being unable to roam freely, Dearborn is hopeful that they will return home soon. He says that when they do get home, self-isolation is going to be "a tricky one" for many people as they are used to being together.

Outtatown and Canadian Mennonite University are currently working to help get people home and have started a prayer group.