To say we had a good time would be an understatement. We learned, laughed, worked, played, ate, explored, helped, and saw the world from a new view. Our team from Greenville was fantastic, our Guatemala staff could not have been better, and our friends we built a foundation and stoves with were inspiring.
The word that resounds in my mind in thinking about the trip is privilege.
It was a privilege to go on the trip and it was revealing of the particular type of privilege we live in every day.
One of the first things our guide, Kayla, said to us was to manage our expectations. To us what might seem dirty or useless might be a prized family possession that we are being offered in gratitude and love. Our perspective of what might be needed may be something that wouldn't be used at all. To manage our expectations we needed to see the privilege in which we were working.
Part of the definition of privilege is: a rare opportunity to do something. This trip, this job, this organization, and this life are just that, rare opportunities to do something: to serve, to love, to lead, to explore, to try, to mess up, to create, to build, to hope.
It was a privilege to be a part of this team and to be welcomed by the Habitat Guatemala community. For me, the desire to go on a Habitat Global Village trip has been 10 years in the making. Just to participate in the trip at all was a privilege and rare opportunity indeed.
The trip also showed how privileged we are to be born in the United States. Just to have water to drink without concern, a clean and decent place to live, and options at all for what we want to be when we grow up are all huge privileges and rare opportunities compared to what the people of Guatemala are likely born into.
Our rare opportunities throughout our trip included building 5 smokeless stoves and the foundation of a house; experiencing the culture to better understand the community we were serving; getting to know the children, the Habitat staff, the team, and ourselves a little better each day; and many things in between.
Some of these opportunities had immediate impact and some have impact we may never see. That is the challenge and joy of a trip like this: knowing the things we did affect the lives of the community served and participants serving for years to come and in ways we may not even think or imagine.
The trip was truly a privilege and joy to experience. I hope to make it back to Guatemala again sooner than later. Perhaps you could come too! Until then, know I am so grateful for this rare opportunity and the supportive community around me whose impact on my life I may never fully know this side of eternity.
And now that I am back on speedy (ish) internet, some photos to show a little of the trip:
|First view of Guatemala!|
|First to Last day progress!|
|The food was so good!|
|Our new friends! (Jason, in green jacket, is in the doorway of his current home right in front of the new one being built.)|
|A finished stove.|
|Iximche - Mayan Ruins|
|The Thursday market|
|A typical stove|
|The beautiful corn|
|My buddy, Jason. Oh how I miss that sweet face.|
|Silly faces with Jason and Alan (and Edyson).|
|The team and partner family|
|Climbing Pacaya Volcan|
|Team with Field Coordinators Fredy and Kayla.|
|5 hour flight delay made better by free snacks and BINGO!|