goodbye, guatemala

March 8:

We’re on the airplane now, on the way back to the United States. I am so blessed and grateful for this opportunity. Just a little recap…

Interesting facts:

  • The country bird, the quetzal, is known to die if it is captured. Without freedom, you have death.
  • Everything about the culture – the connection the people have to nature, their sense of community, their welcoming and positive attitudes towards strangers, their perspective on life
  • Guatemala has peanut butter! I thought I would have serious withdrawals, but we had peanut butter with our pancakes almost every morning for breakfast.

Scariest moment: traveling through Guatemala City, pulling up next to men with machine guns and large machetes, countless armed guards on the streets and hearing of the robberies on the community buses

Most fun moment: working with the group and making it fun even though it was hard work (my gangster name is H.Swizzle or Hanquisha by the way – thanks, Nyejel)

Most rewarding moment: Getting hugs from Petrona, Paulina, Perla and Camilla. I will never forget them, their generosity and open, thankful hearts

What I learned about life in general: It’s possible to be not just content, but truly happy with little to no possessions. Family, friends and community are all you need.

What I learned from the group: They all have such kind hearts and are so different from one another. I learned so much through listening instead of talking and saw so many different perspectives that opened my mind.

What I liked least about life in Guatemala: The fact that they don’t have the same opportunities that we do. They can’t go on to high school and college and choose to be a firefighter or a journalist or a fashion designer or doctor. I’ve always been told I can do whatever I set my mind to, and their fate is decided for them.

What I liked most:ย Their contagious happiness and joy. The people are so welcoming and truly happy. They love their lives.

I’m anxious to arrive home and get back to my regular routine, but if I could have stayed in Guatemala longer, I would have in a heartbeat. Although I miss warm showers, my family and friends, I loved building new friendships, working with the most welcoming families and making a difference. I’d trade a warm shower for that any day. Adios, Guatemala. Ohio, please don’t be too cold.

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