Every year, Christopherson Business Travel sponsors a group of employees to participate in a humanitarian excursion with Choice Humanitarian. As a corporate partner with this international non-profit organization, we engage and volunteer whenever possible. This amazing organization assists villages across the globe in extreme poverty by providing self-sustaining techniques to improve their community from within. This year, the group assisted in the Polochic region of Guatemala. Secluded in the hills of Northern Guatemala near Cobán, they helped build stoves and paint the community center.
Laura’s humanitarian expedition story
As I boarded my flight to Guatemala City, I knew I would be seeing firsthand what extreme poverty would look like. Once I arrived, and began our four-hour bus ride (which really took seven hours until our first stop), I was amazed at the beauty of the country, the colorful but poorly constructed buildings, heavily congested roadways and traffic. Trash also seemed to be a huge problem, as it was strewn everywhere!
Once out of the big city, I saw another side of Guatemala. The landscape was still beautiful and colorful, and the people seemed pleasant and genuinely happy. I think overall, they accepted their way of life and appreciated the things they had.
My next five nights spent in a Q’eqchi’ village was the best experience. The landscape was like the movie Jurassic Park! I thought I’d really see a dinosaur come tromping through the trees! Of course I never did … but I did see a couple of lizards!
Our living arrangements were similar to primitive camping. We all brought our sleeping bags and air mattresses. CHOICE provided and prepared all the food. All of our meals were delicious! Even the daily homemade tortillas were a treat!
I was overwhelmed with the children’s eagerness to learn and help. I never once saw a child in tears or angry. Even the adults were curious of our presence. I was always reminded of this at our meal time! There was always an audience of villagers watching our every move.
Our project in the village was to assist with building cinder block stoves and painting the inside and outside of their community center. Our purpose was NOT to change their way of life, but to enhance and/or minimize their daily tasks. These people were proud of their way of life and their traditional heritage.
I’m still processing everything that I experienced and would go back in a heartbeat! “Laain Sa Lin Ch’ool!” (Q’eqchi’ for: I am fine, happy in my heart.)
Stay tuned for stories from our other adventurers. Check out our Facebook photos from this trip and past expeditions. Chirstopherson Business Travel is an award-winning corporate travel management company with 60 years of experience.