A Spoiled American Girl in a Guatemalan World
When asked to write about what I learned today, well I guess the title above may give you a hint. I have learned how very spoiled, as well as blessed I am to be an outsider here looking in. For the most part, Antigua is very well kept due to its historical significance to the Guatemalan people, however there is still the underlying hint of poverty. Merchants walk the streets with handmade goods just hoping to catch a tourist at the right moment and for the right price, only to be bartered down to the lowest possible price. It is sad, but expected by all. And would you believe wifi is not in every home, water must be purified before drinking it, there is no air conditioning, and television is not readily available….how does anyone in this country survive??? How are we, nine students from America ever going to survive these eight days?
In all seriousness, it is magnificent here. We are working in a small medical clinic, 30 minutes outside Antigua, in Santa Catarina. The town is mostly Mayan and the people are shy, yet friendly. It has taken three days for the curious children walking past to respond to our constant, “Holas and Buenos Dias.” Goat herders walk there herds right past us every morning, cracking their whips, very normal for all, but us American volunteers in town. Their lives are not focused on who said what on Facebook or Twitter. They are patient and grateful, they have been waiting for the wall and playground we are building in this medical clinic for two years now. Patience…what a concept! Learning to do all this construction by hand with very limited tools/supplies has taught me patience, gratitude for my circumstances, and appreciation for life in general. So thank you Guatemala, you have forever changed the way I will look at my life in both times of have and have not!
~Jennifer Herndon “Newly Reformed, Less Spoiled, Amazingly Blessed”