Greetings Intensive Families and GV Supporters,
I can’t believe how quickly this trip has gone. We, gringos are still licking our wounds from this morning’s terrible butt-kicking in both basketball and soccer by the Chapines…we think they were bitter about their team losing 4-1 to the Sounders yesterday. Aside from a few sore throats, we are doing well, and have somehow miraculously managed not to have an dehydration issues.
Instead of recapping our last few days, which have been lovely, I will save that for you to do in person with your kids. Instead I will simply say that it has been a pleasure getting to take part in this adventure. And I will leave you with some reflections from the three junior leaders who have been absolutely outstanding throughout this trip.
“When I applied to join the Global Visionaries program in the fall of 2008 I had no idea that three years later I would still be involved in the program or that I would be given the wonderful opportunity to return to Guatemala. I have remained involved with this program because I whole heartedly believe in what it stands for. This program is not simply a trip to a not so distant land but an opportunity to fully understand the role each and every one of us plays in the global community in which we all live. In my three year involvement in Global Visionaries I have been pushed to see the world and myself through the eyes of others. When I first went to Guatemala in the summer of 2009 I discovered I was part of an international community striving to improve the world in which we all live. In my two weeks working in the Obras Sociales Del Hermano Pedro de San Jose de Betancourth (a hospital in the city of Antigua for people with physical and mental disabilities) I came to understand that just sitting and talking to someone can have a profound affect on their life, for human contact is the best way to understand others. The work I did on my first trip was validated when I returned to the hospital and was remembered by one of the patients, even though two years had passed since I was last in Guatemala. The memories and friendships I have made on my two trips to this amazing country are things that I will cherish for the rest of my life and are part of the things that made me who I am today. I hope to remain a part of the Global Visionaries community for many years and to help others share in similar experiences.”
“One thing that the students have touched on again and again in our reflections is the feeling of immediacy they have in Guatemala. This has come to some of them now having been separated from computers, telephones , and digital music players . Not being constantly aware of the time, or worrying about their status in the cyber-social world. Others spoke about the sense of community and family they have experienced in the streets and in their homestays. The seeming paradox of warm and joyful people who, at times, have to face not meeting their needs. The feeling of living in the moment that comes with this trip is one of the most important things that I took away from my trip in 2007. I remember one of our adult leaders (who was also my to be Spanish teacher the next year) opened up to us, tears and all, about how she had felt trapped in times past since her father’s death. She shared that being in Guatemala was an important part of her journey back to the present. I didn’t realize how much of a reminder I needed this summer, five years later. I just finished my first year of college, and with that came an unsettling change to a routine I had known for the past thirteen years of my life. To say the least, it was rough. Circa the third night of this trip, my host mother had once again filled me to the brim with güisquil, arroz y frijoles. When we had finished dinner we talked. I understood the majority of what she said, but for some reason the sentences which made everyone at the table roar with laughter were the ones which escaped me (though this didn’t keep me from laughing). She told us that she had a little bit of dessert for us, despite our pleads of complete and utter fullness. She told us to cover our eyes. In that moment in which I couldn’t see, I felt like a child again. Like there was nothing more delightful than whatever sweet was coming our way. More than that, it was the fun of not knowing; the fun in watching the darkness behind my eyelids, and feeling the tight smile on my face. Then I remembered what living in the moment really was.”
“The first time I arrived in Guatemala, I never expected Global Visionaries to change my life the way it did. I never would have guessed either, that one day I would find myself back in Guatemala leading a GV trip and inspiring others to make a difference not only in our local community, but also in the world. It’s hard to describe what Global Visionaries means to me and all it entails because without being fully experienced, no one will truly understand it’s meaning and mission. An event with Global Visionaries that truly changed my life was when I returned to the hospital for the second time. I went back with the expectation that none of the patients would remember me. Although I can’t for the life of me remember the boy’s name, when I entered into the Los Ninos ward for the second time, I will never forget the face of the boy who remembered me. “Mi amor,” I would always tell him and his face would light up with joy. I always forget how much joy the hospital brings to my life and I hope that I can return again soon to my friends there.
I love GV, I always will, and it’s hard for me to face the fact that this trip might be my last with Global Visionaries. It’s hard also to say goodbye to a group of truly inspiring and genuine people who dedicate their lives to the community around them and the education of future generations. I hope this is not my final goodbye to Global Visionaries and I certainly know that I will be back to Guatemala soon.”