Every year, Christopherson Business Travel sponsors an volunteer trip for a selected group of their employees. A non-profit working in seven countries, Choice Humanitarian strives to end extreme poverty by focusing on raising up small communities. This year’s employees ventured to a small village in the mountains of Guatemala. There, they helped dig foundations for future buildings and painted.
Volunteering in Guatemala
I was not sure what to expect with on my team’s recent expedition to Guatemala. You hear stories and read articles, but nothing compares to actually being a part of such a trip. I cried, laughed, and tried to take in as much as I could of the scenery and people. It was a trip designed to give, but in actuality, it gave me more than I gave. It was a trip to help eradicate “extreme poverty,” and while the area is certainly not like what you typically see in our cities, it gave me insight into “extreme wealth,” but not in ways that one may see visibly.
On the first day we arrived, a woman was making corn tortillas at dinnertime. This being one of my favorite foods, I was eager to help. She was happy I wanted to help, and was happy for her to show me her skill. Even though I couldn’t speak the language, we made do by enjoying the camaraderie together. Another day, we had an opportunity to visit a local village which consisted of three generations of one family living together. The family was very welcoming, showed us their homes with pride, introduced us to the family members, and even let us partake in the daily chore of shucking corn, a dominant staple in their diet. I was reminded that no matter where we are in this world, pride in family is universal. The extreme reliance on family is primary to survival, particularly in these remote villages. This is a wealth that many in industrial societies may not have the advantage of.
Learning the average mortality rate is 57% and the average pregnancy age is age 10-14, was shocking. Seeing what CHOICE Humanitarian does by helping communities learn new skills and gain education, and knowing I was there to help in any way I could, was the proudest moment of my life. No matter how little we felt we did in just one week, I know it was far greater than not doing anything, and I am proud to support CHOICE Humanitarian.