July 2, 2010
My name is Molly Hickok and I go to Garfield High School. I’m 17 years old and an incoming senior. I never thought in my life I would be experiencing all the emotions ad challenges that GV has to offer. I work in the hospital in Antigua where my group and I are alongside Chapines (Guatemalans.) Although my Spanish “es no bueno” I’ve found that some of my favorite people in the hospital don’t even need words to understand my love for them (although it is nice to have the Guatemalan volunteers know a bit of English and help translate for us.)
The most rewarding experience though is just touching the patients and watching a smile spread across their beautiful faces. The ninos are my favorite, not only because they are small and cuddly, but because I feel like I am able to relate to them more, as well as feel like I am needed. The ninos greet me with a genuine smile and call me “amiga.” One boy screams as he holds up his arms and waves at me. He knows I have come to tell him how “muy guapo” he is, welcoming me with a hug and kiss on the hand and cheek.
My group is not there to pity or “help” them because they are disabled; we have come to be healed by them instead and in return all of us become one multicultural family. I thank them for that with all my heart because I cannot even begin to express all they have done for me. I never expected GV to be this kind of travel experience and I must say I was a little skeptical about hearing how life changing this trip is but there is no doubt in my mind any longer. After only 5 days of being in Guatemala, I feel I have learned and grown so much. I’ve grown not only in knowledge, but I believe in size also because I can’t seem to stop myself from eating all of the “muy delicioso comida” that our host families (and Guatemala) has to offer. The Guatemalans are beautiful: their hearts brimming with kindness. They have one hand open an welcoming and the other offering a plate full of food.
Guatemala has become my second home and returning back to my American one will be very difficult. Truly with every bit of my being and more, I thank you GV and Chapines for all you have taught me and will continue to teach me as the trip unfolds. You have truly impacted my life deeply and have inspired me to spread the mission of GV further.