I haven’t been able to write on this blog because there have been so many other things to keep up with! Not only do I write on this blog, but I also have a personal blog in which I write some personal thoughts on my experiences here in Guatemala. I also recently bought a beautifully hand-crafted journal in Antigua that I am trying to put to use and write down some everyday, random thoughts of my travel experiences. It’s a lot of writing to keep up with and although I don’t write the same things in all blogs it still gets kind of confusing trying to remember whether or not I’m repeating myself! Anyways, today was by far the best day I have had here in Guatemala and I think I can speak for the rest of the girls when I say this. We all woke up a bit tired since we stayed up talking about our plans for Nourish International in the upcoming semester. I have never been so excited to be part of something so meaningful and empowering and I really hope that we can reach a lot more people this upcoming year. We spent exactly SIX hours after dinner discussing our plans and opportunities for the club this upcoming year. We bounced ideas off each other all night, it was like a super intense six hour ping- pong game where we came up with ways in which we can amp up our club meetings and the ventures we conduct around campus. We all got so excited and sent out tons of emails contacting people that would want to be part of the growth process that Nourish International will experience this upcoming year.
So, we got ready for a regular day at work except for the fact that we got stuck in traffic for about 2 hours because of some accident/ student strike that broke out on our way to Potter’s House! It was crazy because there were people running around in the streets and drivers going over sidewalks trying to escape the traffic. So after going over the sidewalk we were on our way to work! Today we got to teach the women from the beauty salon class, and originally we were gonna do a lesson on revision and reiteration of their marketing plans and financial plans but, we decided to change this last minute and talk about how to be an innovator. While on this trip I read Steve Jobs’s biography and I absolutely enjoyed all 600 pages of it (even though most people were sick and tired of me talking about his unusual ways). Either way, reading the biography really opened up my eyes to the importance of innovation so I decided to pass down this knowledge to these women. After a couple of encouraging videos of other women who started micro-enterprises I decided that it would be a great idea for Katie Conner to come up and speak about her experiences when she started Nourish International. She talked about all the many failures she experienced while trying to get Nourish off the ground and how she was able to learn from those failures to create money making ventures that succeeded. I explained that starting a business is all about learning to cope with failures and letting go of the fears that hold you back. I read a quote from Og Mandino, the author of The Greatest Salesman In The World, that spoke about turning your ideas into actions. It talked about the fact that success waits for no one and tomorrow is only in the calendar of fools. We noticed that the women were laughing and enjoyed relating to us while we talked about our failures with trying to raise funds for Nourish and how we learned from those experiences. It’s all true, a lot of the times we feel like idiots and we’re scared of what people are going to think about us when we get out there and try to make something happen, but it always turns out to be a learning experience. At the end of the class one of the women, who we have never heard speak before, stood up and said she spoke on behalf of all the women when she said that they have learned a tremendous amount from our classes and that our lessons have changed the way they think about life and business. At this point Katie F., Tisa, Katie C. and I looked at each other in shock as our jaws dropped. This was the first time we have heard any feedback from them and we could not have been more thankful for the words that came out of her mouth. I told them on behalf of all of us that they have taught us more than we could ever teach them, and that this has been such a unique adventure for all of us. I then dismissed the class, and to my surprise half of the women stayed after class and came up to us to ask us questions about Nourish International, our personal lives and what we have done to overcome the struggles that come our way. I told them about how my parents and I immigrated to the United States when I was seven, how difficult it was for us to adapt to a place where we had no friends or family and how my father started washing cars to support our family while my mom worked as a secretary. I told them about how my parents left our past in Bolivia and forced my brother and I to work hard in and out of school so that we could shape our own paths for the future.
I told them to live a life of adventure and curiosity and fun because the only thing stopping them is death, and hey, we’re all gonna reach that at one point so we might as well continue to live each day as if it were our last, because we never know when we’ll be right. Below are some pictures of our classes!
Much love to all! I’ll be back in just a couple of days!