Back in the States: Post-Trip Reflection

The Get Fresh Crew, showing their fuerza with the alumnos of Tecnico Maya.

From the Journal of: Faetitia

8/13/2011

Faetitia enjoying herself at the cultural festival our last night in Comalapa.

As I leave a new place and return to an everyday structured lifestyle, where it’s ok to wear whatever you want and not a social norm to greet everyone you walk by, I reflect on my days spent in Comalapa laughing, working and pushing through the obstacles that stood in our way. The expectations I had prior to this trip were more than fulfilled. Not only did I do what I came here to do, help build a school with Long Way Home, but I was able to use my three years of Spanish outside the classroom and apply it to something greater and I learned about a culture that most people know nothing about. Getting used to putting toilet paper in a bin rather than in the toilet is something I can’t say I’ll miss but it’s definitely an experience that I won’t forget. However I will miss Manuel, who opened my eyes to what we take for granted every day: a lifestyle full of happiness and a sense of peace even though you can clearly see the years of struggle and labor upon these people’s faces and by looking at the beautiful murals. I’ll also miss the way this culture doses not revolve around superficial things, hence the fact that there was no mirror in the hotel I stayed for the week. I will never forget Clara, Manuel’s mother, holding our hands and saying her final goodbyes as tears fell from her eyes. In that moment I knew just I much our trip to Comalpa impacted her and her family. Remembering the warm hugs and innocent laughter of the children at the Tecnico Maya school I see now that we are not just another volunteer group visiting a project for fun but we are individuals who really care and who WILL make a difference in their lives. On the last day working on the worksite we left our finger prints on the wall that we put cob on for six hours and when I look back I can gladly say I helped in making this happen. Yes, there were times when there was tension between the group but that all did not seem to matter when we were in our hotel room laughing and having a good time getting to know each other.  If I hadn’t gone on this trip I wouldn’t have discovered my new love for Picamas, the Guatemalan version of hot sauce. Goodbye Guatemala.

p.s I will never be the same after this trip. Till next time <33

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