Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Journey of a lifetime

As I'm sitting here thinking of all the things I could write about, it dawned on me that it has already been about a month since we've been back from Guatemala. It feels like just yesterday we were all packing in the back of this mini pick-up truck to head off to our next task. Even though it has already been a month since we have been back, I still catch myself on the regular talking about my entire experience while in this beautiful country. I experienced so much on this trip that it would probably take me forever to talk about every little thing. Before we left for the trip, I had so much running through my mind of what to expect, but once we arrived, nothing came close to what was actually witnessed. First of all, the homes these people lived in were not even homes you would even catch a low-income person living  in, in our country today. The majority of them were roofless, but the ones that did have a roof, it was made up of a random long piece of tin that was easily blown down (which I witnessed). If a rainstorm were to come, there was no chance that it would keep the inside dry. Their floors are just dirt from the ground and there were a few random doors off to the side which were where they slept. Also, one thing that really bothered me was the amount of child labor at such young ages. The girls would stay home with the mom's to help them cook, clean, do laundry, etc. The boys would go with the father up the volcano's to help with the coffee fields, or help with whatever the dad did for a living. We would walk by many children on the side of the streets selling fruits, hand squeezing lemonade, selling cosmetics just so they can get a little income of their own. These children were as young as 8 years old and is just gets to me knowing that this is how they are spending their childhood. Even though they are working hard to get money, the smiles on these children's faces and how happy they were just got to me even more knowing that they are still having fun doing what they are doing and it also makes you question, what really is poverty? We came across a little boy who made string bracelets, necklaces, etc to make money and seeing the smile on his face when I bought one from him was just priceless and I have yet to take off the bracelet. This was only a little bit of what I witnessed that really got to me, and if I were to keep talking about every little thing, I would be here forever. However, after this amazing experience, one thing that sticks to me when I got back to the US was how spoiled and unsatisfied Americans are and will continue to be as life goes on. Americans do not realize how lucky we are to have what we have, but we still continue to have these millions of citizens who will never be satisfied with what they have. I just wish, even if it was just for a day, everyone could experience what we have witnessed, then hopefully more Americans will have more appreciation for what we have and how lucky we are. I can most certainly say that this has been a life changing experience and for as long as I live, I will continue to travel around our world to these types of places to do whatever I can to help these communities.