At the end of May, Safe Passage students enjoyed an educational excursion to a botanical garden. From this experience they learned the importance of caring for young plants and, in turn, how to care for others.

The day began in the early morning hours as Safe Passage staff and second grade students boarded a bus traveling to Vivero Botanik, a plant nursery in Guatemala City. The students sang cheerful, happy songs, excited to learn something new.

Safe Passage sponsors and PepsiCo staff welcomed students to Botanik with warm smiles and fun games. Jump, dance, sit, slide: the energy level of students is unmatched and they happily played together—a welcome alternative to sitting on the bus—until it was time to start the garden tour.

Botanik staff provided the group with simple instructions: you may gently touch the plants, but do not remove leaves, flowers or fruit. Transfixed by their surroundings, attentive students listened carefully as their instructor described the unique qualities of the many plants and trees in the nursery. Bright sun filled the sky as sweet smells from flowers infused the air.

Once each area of the garden had been thoroughly explored, and various shapes of leaves were carefully inspected by curious students, the group was tasked with a special assignment: learn how to pot a plant and, most importantly, how to care for it.

Guided by Botanik staff, students carefully transferred a young plant from its starter container to a larger pot. Students then learned that young plants need careful tending and a few simple ingredients to survive: room to grow, fresh water, nutrient-rich food, and warm sun.

At the end of the day the students walked to the bus, lettuce, mint, and cilantro plants in hand. They sang cheerful, happy songs, excited to learn how to care for their young plants.

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