Last year I came to Guatemala as a quiet, first year student. This year, I have returned as one of the four “Junior Leaders”.
Being a Junior leader has been so much fun. I just love being able to speak so much. I also felt safe enough to cry; I hadn’t cried in front of anybody except my mom. Being in Segunda Cruz and just playing with the kids, has been so much fun. It reminds me when I used to play with my brothers and sisters – turning off all of the lights in my home and hiding on the roof and jumping off when they start looking up there. Even during hard times, the times we didn’t have electricity or even water, we were still having so much fun.
These kids here in Guatemala love to play, but now I believe that it is a way of trying to forget about the stress that they must have…things I imagine are on their minds like having to worry about being able to get food tonight. One of the parents in Segunda Cruz said that their most happiest days are when they are able to provide for their family. Thinking about this, and about growing up with a single mom – it must have been an enormous amount of pain because she couldn’t afford to pay the bills, the constant moving, all the responsibility, and fear, as an immigrant, of being deported must have been so nerve wracking. Keeping all of the pain within herself and not to share it.
Coming back had open eyes again – not just to poverty. But the realization that the pain that many families face is similar to what I have experienced. This is an unforgettable experience.
Marcos Castro Lemus
Incoming Freshman, Seattle University