• Monica Jackson

Where I am after experiencing Guatemala...

Updated: Apr 24, 2019

When I think of Guatemala..

I feel surrounded by rich spirits and smiles. But I feel frustrated about all that I have taken for granted. I feel discomfort in seeing what I have seen and knowing what I now know.

From Guatemala I have learned

I need to project my knowledge and concerns for consumed resources, I need to measure my life by happiness not by success or possessions, I need others to understand problems are not yours or mine but ours!

After visiting Guatemala

I forgive my own ignorance and the ignorance others unknowingly have. I forgive myself for mistaking privileges for rights, I forgive myself for every time I played it safe and small.

Because I now know Guatemala

I celebrate the colors of sky blue and crisp white. I celebrate the repor between us regardless of what langue we did or didn’t speak. I celebrate the group that is now bonded in Guatemalan bug bites, the forte of concrete, and a perspective that we will never be able to unsee.

Since Guatemala

I realize I should love my neighbor more, I realize that dignity is something you can give as easily as you can take, I realize I am only one but I am still one.

Guatemala I am forever grateful for everything you have taken from me, but even more so the things NO ONE can take from you.

Every day since I have been back I try to inch closer to Guatemala. I was only in the country for 10 days for spring break. The group I went with was 30 other students & community members, we spent 9 months preparing for this service trip. Why? Well raising $80K doesn't happen over night & it is next to impossible to fully understand what a place and its people have experienced even in 9 months . To understand why we were were going is also complex- we weren't going to fix this country's problems, we weren't going to Americanize their culture, or to throw money where we thought they need it. We spent the months planing and attending a million fund raisers, learning vocab words and speaking conversational Spanish.

My favorite fund raisers was the "Guatemalan yard sale" because the philosophy that is applied to sales is anything you pay is more money then we currently have. Hundred of people from the community came to buy and support the trip. It is in the first few months of the preparation for the trip and brings in the most money. It was the first time I understood what my actions could do. I helped a family load a whole slew of furnishings for a house into a truck, they bought it for maybe $30 but that didn’t mater. I didn’t realize it at the time but the kids and their mom had immigrated to Louisville two month ago after their dad got a job breezing horses. A month a go the dad had a horse flip over while he was riding and both the horse and rider had passed away. The mom didn’t speak very much English but she gave a genuine smile as she left with her kids.

I’m sure you are wondering how this is relevant to Guatemala. But honestly sometimes you go to a place thinking you are going to experience all the differences between your home and theirs. Yet instead I saw that both places can be home, in Guatemala I learned that if I am happy, loved & fulfilled I am home. People living in Louisville have some of the same troubles as the people we were with in Guatemala. All the things the family bought at the yard sale made their life a little bit better, . Maybe only a few inches better. The work we did in Guatemala was the same way.

The WHY to all of this is those inches add up, they slowly add up to feet. Feet turn into miles and the miles make a more fulfilled, loved and happy life. The inches make the difference in people’s life.

I hope to make a difference inch by inch...

With love Mon

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