“An idea that is developed and put into action is more important than an idea that exists only as an idea.” – Buddha
There comes a time in our lives where we find ourselves challenged by the opportunities that we come across, a moment in which we are finally called upon to put all those plans, dreams, and ideas into practice. When those moments present themselves we find ourselves with two options: we can discard the plan and continue leaving a comfortable, nothing out of the ordinary lifestyle, or, we can take on the challenge and give our dreams a shot. The tools to act upon such dreams and ideas are within us; however, it is easier to let those tools oxidize instead of putting them to use and polishing them. Such was the challenge we both embarked upon working with FUNCEDESCRI, Guatemala.
The experience in Guatemala has definitely changed us and has without question impacted our career goals and aspirations. When we go to another place whether it’d be country, city, town, etc., with the purpose to help we tend to think of ourselves as the “heroes” of the story. What Guatemala taught us was that the heroes of the story are not us, but the people we help…they are the true heroes. Such concept changed us in a way that it made us more humble in certain areas of our lives, more open minded, and it definitely taught to not underestimate the situation at hand. It taught us that in order to achieve a goal we have to work together, listen to one another, consider different ideas, talk and come to an agreement, make a decision and go through with it. Helping is not just giving but also receiving, it is a contribution, or a collaboration between both parties. The experience in Guatemala also showed that truly live here in the US is like a bubble; in other words, lifestyle in the States is full of privileges, but also filled with a vast amount of things that we undoubtedly take for granted. For example, the simplicity of standing up, going to the kitchen and getting a glass of water. In many of the indigenous communities we worked in, water was one of the main issues. There was a community in which the people had to walk miles and miles (around 30 kilometers) down a mountain in order to get access to this small waterfall…and then carry it all the way back up. We plus the other student volunteers walked with the “village council” which were five older men and the FUNCEDESCRI worker, Pedro, and brainstorm a technique to get the water pumping all the way up the mountain where the village was located…and here in the States water is consumed in an incredible amount and easily accessible. Here in the US society consumes so much while at the same time wastes so much, while in those communities nothing is wasted: like our trip motto says, “not even our own waste goes to waste.”
The experience with FUNCEDESCRI and Guatemala reaffirmed the believe an individual is formed at home and childhood plays an immense role in the molding of that individual; if we can aid and work with children who have faced rough times, who have been victims of human rights violations, if we can establish a friendship and make a contribution, then those positive grains of sand that others have instilled upon us plus the experiences we’ve had and will have, can be passed to others and provide a sense of hope. At the same time, those children and families will give teach us life lessons, an appreciation for what we tend to forget, and be thankful for the blessings God has given.