Guatemala- A Taste of Perspective

I’m back in the United States.  That means I can drink the water and enjoy some air conditioning.  Cold air never tasted so good 🙂

You might think that means I’m glad I’m back, but it was surprisingly hard to board the plane in Guatemala City and head back home.

I’ve been blessed to travel a good amount, especially internationally.  I normally look forward to getting home, specifically to friends and family, as well as to the comforts that only exist at home, especially in the USA.  But this time was different.

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Perspective

Life here is a rat race.  Within twenty minutes of being in the car I was glued to my phone and my father was pointing out one of the recent Tesla models driving next to us.  Most of what we do here is in an effort to build our empire; our image.  If I’m being completely honest, this blog is part of that.  I love writing, and I also love doing it publicly.  I can’t help but feel a little deflated.

  • In Guatemala my team helped to deliver smokeless stoves to families that were breathing in way too much smoke while cooking, creating a health hazard.
  • We visited local schools where children have few resources and one teacher instructs students, K-6th.
  • We met with older students and their families, recipients of scholarships our church provides.
  • We helped demolish the remains of a house that had collapsed so a new house could be built.  We were helping to fund a new house for an older woman who was taking care of a 9-year old child, not her own child,  but a child who couldn’t walk or talk and by all medical accounts should not be alive.

We did this and more.  This isn’t to give a laundry list of what we did.

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It is to juxtapose my phone/ the latest Tesla with what I had been experiencing just hours before.  It’s to emphasize the love and generosity and pride I saw on the faces of the Guatemalans when we met with them and shared time with them in their homes.  I saw happiness and joy, family and relationship; all amidst an obvious lack of material wealth.

Luckily my Spanish has been improving and I could connect with my new friends at a deeper level.  What I saw wasn’t a group of beaten down individuals, but a larger network of loving and caring people working together.

The Guatemalans acknowledged that life is hard.  But when I think of the people I know in the USA, myself included, I do not see a happy group of people.  I mostly see individuals overwhelmed with busy schedules and whirring gadgets.  In general, people seem less happy than those whom I met in Guatemala.

What do we do about this?  How do we keep perspective on what is really important, or do you think material wealth is what’s important?  Let me know what you think in the comments. 

Each night we would have “team time”, where we would share with one another, trying to process what we had seen and experienced that day. We were asked to share a potential “tweet” near the end of the trip about our experience in Guatemala. Ironic right?

Still, I shared:

“Guatemala was full of God, faith, love, generosity, and hospitality.  And yet this doesn’t begin to capture it; Guatemala was full of so much more.”

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