In reflecting back on this trip I think mostly of the extremely gracious people we met throughout our travels. Even with the poverty and malnutrition– climbing because of the rising cost of food –the people of Guatemala are so very friendly to foreigners.
In Guatemala as in most countries today, if you don’t get an education for a career or a degree from a university it is nearly impossible to get a job that pays beyond subsistence living. Helping young people get that education is our mission- our passion. Because with an education they can provide for themselves and also for a family.
We have seen that some of the people of the highlands feel Americans are rich and have an unlimited supply of money to spend– which by their standards may very well seem true. Often when foreigners/Americans come to Guatemala to help they give so much and are so generous that locals can think no other way! Education And More prefers to work with local organizations and local volunteers when distributing school supplies and other aid because this removes the idea of the rich Americans loaded with gifts for everyone.
It is difficult when you want to help and are able to do and to give a lot— but we must remember that it can create jealousy and strife as well as dependence. We believe it is better to help them help themselves as in the saying “Give a man a fish and feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
When Education And More purchases handcrafts we give work to the artisans. This allows the artisan to have pride and dignity in being able to provide for their family and also in being able to make items that others around the world want to buy.
When we take time to talk with the shuttle drivers, the street children, the waiters in the restaurant, the maids in the hotels, store clerks or any number of other people you see on any given day, then we enrich our lives by showing love and compassion to our neighbors.
We met wonderful Christian local volunteers and artisans, dedicated school principals and teachers, very engaging and delightful street children, and many very helpful people whenever we needed directions or help.
I am ready to go back!!