On our last night in Guatemala, before we flew home to our individual lives and normal routines, we each went around and said what we will most remember about the trip. Here are some insights into the experiences and take aways of our team members: Cassie
: After she slipped and fell on a rocky path to one of the homes, a Guatemalan woman offered her home as a place for Cassie to rest and recover Judy
: The people lived with so little, yet were so content and happy with life - a different perspective that she hopes we can all remember when we are back in our daily routines Megan
: During the closing ceremony, a little girl peeked in the door with a smile that seemed to actually light up the room - a bright smile in the midst of poverty Ryan
: All that was going on in the village homes as the stoves were being installed (women weaving bags, children running around, life kept going) - their daily lives compared to ours Greta
: The hospitality of a woman who gave us a place to sit and served us soda to thank us for building a stove for her Evan
: the people of Saqib threw a welcoming party for us without even knowing who we were - they trusted that we were coming to do good and actually help them West
: speaking Q'eqchi phrases from a sheet of paper which broke down language barriers and made him feel connected to the people Becca
: seeing throughout the week that the little we did actually made a difference Amy
: connecting to the mothers - having them introduce their children and then she could introduce her children - seeing that these mothers have the same love and care for their children as she does Howard
: seeing God in the work and faces of people around him Jen
: our group's enthusiasm in everything we did Jorge
: being asked by a grandfather why he did this work - explaining that he wants to be an example to the children in these villages that they can get an education and do something meaningful with their lives like he is Mary
: the support and strong community aspect of this village - their ownership and pride in their new stoves
Each of us was impacted by different people and interactions throughout the week. These are experiences we will each remember even as we are now thousands of miles away from the village of Saqib.
If I were to use one word to describe this trip it would be: perspective
. Being in Guatemala and spending a week among these beautiful people gave me a new perspective on life. Next time I am frustrated by traffic on my way to work, I will remember the many people who walk miles and miles to and from markets and villages with loads on their backs or heads...
Next time my stomach growls, I will remember how Santiago's face lit up when I shared my juice box with him...
Next time I throw my clothes in the washer, I'll remember the women who scrub their clothes by hand in a wash basin...
Next time I pull a warm meal (or cookies) out of my oven, I'll remember the 40 families in Saqib who have new stoves and clean air in their homes...
And next time I'm just having a bad day, I'll remember this beautiful face...
Thank you for following me on this journey. I hope your life has been touched by these people of Saqib as well. Bantiosh!