Hello! This is Aideen, checking in from Guatemala. I am so pleased to say that we are really enjoying ourselves and having a good time. On Monday, we started this trip as 12 individuals from various backgrounds, but after just a few days together, we have become a united group, learning from each other and making memories that we will carry with us for the rest of our lives.
When we arrived at The School of Hope, one thing that really impressed us was that the students receive a bilingual education from Kindergarten “Prepa” to fourth grade. They are working towards expanding this until it encompasses everyone at the school. The students learn in English one day and Spanish the next. This really surprised us and many of us expressed that we wish this happened in the United States.
Each night when we return from dinner, we talk about how our day went and share any highlights or thoughts that we are having. Personally, one thing that I have thought about a lot is what makes a country “third world” and why are certain countries like Guatemala are considered “developing”? One thing that I have noticed is that the majority of the citizens here may not have access to as many opportunities as some of us do in the U.S., but in general, it appears that the people of Guatemala live a much happier lifestyle than a typical American. Another question Elyse posed to us on the first night was, “What is the difference between charity and social justice?” There is no right or wrong answer to these questions, but I share them because it gets you thinking. This trip is a journey to self-awareness; while on our trip we may make a difference in the lives of a few individuals, but they’re also changing our lives and our hearts forever.