Hola from Antigua,
Distributing vegetables to the people of San Miguel Duenas, our group spent the morning breaking down cultural barriers and building relationships with the people of San Miguel Duenas. Today was very successful. At Reflections tonight, everyone agreed that we accomplished our goal, made a positive impact on the community we were serving, and grew as individuals ourselves. We spent both the morning and afternoon at the same service site but in the afternoon we focused our service towards cleaning the community. All of the kids and adults of San Miguel Duenas were eager to help us clean up the area and that made the experience even more rewarding.
A few treasured moments were shared today between different group members and the people of Guatemala. I delivered vegetables to a family of 6 which included a mother with four daughters and one son. During the time when I visited, only three of the daughters were present with the mother. There house was made out of tin and their floors were dirt. The girls were eager to interact with me and although our conversations were limited–we found other ways to communicate. The mother mentioned how no father was around to help with the children and that they did not go to school. The older daughter was excited that I spoke English and urged me to teach her. As I spoke, she wrote. We smiled and laughed and for a moment it seemed as if all cultural differences, distance, and society disappeared. We could just be people. It was one of the most rewarding experiences of this trip for me.
SC Freshman Kayla comments about her experience thus far in Guatemala:
Today has been one of my favorite days in Guatemala. I say this basically every day but it’s because every day just keeps getting better. Today we gave out vegetables in San Miguel Duenas and it was beyond my expectations. The bag of vegetables we gave out to every family simply included 2 carrots, cauliflower, 2 beats, and a cucumber. It shocks me that this small portion of vegetables is given out once a month and usually requires a family member to walk a long distance to obtain it. Bringing the vegetables to the doors of families was absolutely incredible. The homes of these people were extremely run down and yet they were so happy and patient with our poor Spanish.
After delivering vegetables, we went to the doors of the families and introduced ourselves. They let us into their homes without hesitation and told us about themselves. When we entered the house of a 73 year old woman who was very frail, she immediately demanded her granddaughter get us chairs to sit on. She told us of her exhaustion and illnesses and yet was so selfless that she told us she would pray for us who have everything rather than herself who has nothing. I feel that I have experienced every emotion possible. The people here in Guatemala are happy–I am happy, but what makes me sad is that the United States is so different. My sadness and anger are because of the greed of Americans. The people here in Guatemala are suffering from disabilities and diseases and are still inspiring, while we are sitting in our cozy homes in the United States complaining over the common cold. I know not all Americans are fortunate but based on personal experience; my eyes were/are widened. I am excited to return to the United States and speak of my experience but I am also anxious to see things so differently now. I am overwhelmed with excitement and passion. Thank you, Guatemala.
Dani and Courtney had another experience that proved to be both eye opening and rewarding. They visited a house of five which included a grandmother, mother, two daughters, and one son. Dani described how the daughter had leukemia and was receiving chemotherapy twice a month. The cost per each session was $800 Q (a little over a 100.00 US dollars). Dani and Courtney mentioned how there were complications that had caused an infection in her leg which seemed to worry the family adding stress to the already impending medical costs. The price of the chemotherapy and the antibiotics kept the family working full time and even then they were barely making enough to survive. Moved by this experience, Dani and Courtney donated a $108 Quetzals towards the daughter’s illness. Dani and Courtney did not know what to expect when handing the money to the daughter explaining, “this is for chemotherapy”. Immediately the daughter thanked them and handed the money to the mother who broke into tears. Continually blessing both Courtney and Dani, the mother expressed how the donation would help them to continue to provide health care for their daughter. Dani described how she was in awe exclaiming, ” I did not know what to say when the mother started crying so we just hugged her for a while”. Dani continued to describe her encounter with the family explaining to all of us that seeing the mother cry over $15.00 US dollars seemed to really put life in perspective.
Everyone seemed to share different experiences with the families today and everyone from SC seemed to grow individually. We are looking forward to tomorrow’s final day of service where we will be traveling back to Escuela Santa Maria de Jesus to paint a mural and to continue painting the school for the kids. As our days in Guatemala begin to wind down- we reflect on our experiences, growth, understanding of privilege, and each others culture. We all are excited to be back with the children of Santa Maria de Jesus and look forward to reporting back to you all.