This is our last blog post! We just want everyone to know how much our experience in Guatemala has meant to all of us. It would be an understatement to say that this week was one of the best weeks of all of our entire lives. The moment we landed in Nashville we received an email from Kat and Hudson that nearly brought everyone on the plane to tears. It was so nice to hear about how much our work in Guatemala had made such an impact.
I think of the many aspects that we took from this trip some of the biggest things were that we can help make changes in communities no matter how small those changes they may be. Although we were only in Guatemala for a week, we were able to see our immediate impact in the community through our trash can project. I think one of the most rewarding experiences of the trip was the presentation to the community for our project; to see how appreciative the families were of our work was so meaningful. To see women with their children sitting in the community room listening to what we had to say about our project meant so much.
Another thing that I think that a lot of people took from the trip was how real poverty is. We had multiple discussions throughout the week about Guatemalan culture and their economic situation. I was astonished to learn that only about 15 years ago there was a civil war in Guatemala and that many of the older generations had lived through that time. I was also intrigued to learn that the largest percentage of income coming into the country as “imports” came from money made by Guatemalans working in America that was sent home to their families. To think that Guatemalan workers are willing to leave their families in their communities to be able to provide the best for their families is so meaningful.
As a team we were also able to see how deep poverty is and how you can’t “change the world” in a couple of days and not even in a couple of years. It is the relationships you make with people and the little changes that you are able to make in a community that can make the most difference. Through working with Kat and Hudson, we were able to see some of the struggles that they have gone through to be accepted by the community. The relationships that we were able to make in just a week with the kids and the families in the community really were able to show us how important those relationships are in life. It was so cool to hear all the kids at the school yelling “Utz, Utz, Utz” (which means “Good” in their native tribal language) for Hudson and “Katie” for Kate. The teachers and students really have made such connections with Kat and Hudson and Manna’s impact in Guatemala can really been seen through their work.
I would like to close in saying that through this entire experience, the relationships and impact that we were able to make in the community and with each other was the most important thing we were able to take from this trip. As cliché as it might be to say this, I know I am not the only one who thinks that this experience has been life changing. We have seen how much of an impact we can have on a community and the ways in which our relationships can change people’s live. We are all so grateful to have had the opportunity to go on this Manna Spring Break Trip and I think that our memories and relationships that have been made will stay with us forever.
Manna Love Always,Allie Voss and the A-Team