Memories Last a Lifetime

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We were thousands of miles from home. Completely out of our comfort zone; yet I felt safe as is I was in my own home. The members and the people from my trip to Guatemala will forever hold a dear spot in my heart.

Going to another country, especially a third world country can be a very scary experience. However, we never felt like it. Eleven students and five adults made the 10 day service trip. It all started with a six hour car ride to Chicago. Once we were there we stayed the night at Elizabeth Johnson’s aunt and uncle’s house. We all woke up the next morning with so much excitement and wonder of what was ahead of us. The adults drove us to the airport. Our first flight took us to Dallas and then we connected on a flight to Guatemala. The beginning of the adventure had just begun. All of us loaded into two big vans with the luggage piled on top. It took nearly 30 minutes or us to get to our home for the next week and a half: Antigua. On the first day we went and toured the Dream Center. There the children got to interact with us. We had a welcoming meeting to talk about the next three days of working.

We woke up the next morning to begin our homes we were building. My work group was Patrick Champa, Claire Crimmins, and Nancy Crimmins. Our home was for a married couple with two boys and a girl. The first day we dug a trench, cut the steel, cut wood, and leveled out the ground. The second day we mixed cement, laid the bricks, leveled out the dirt, laid the cement ground, and started putting up the framework. On the third and final day we put up all the sides, the roof, painted it blue, and added the door and windows. We had to say goodbye to our family knowing we would never see them again.

The rest of the week was spent having free time and shopping. We made a day trip to a neighboring town named Panachel. We got to stay in a hotel and go shopping all day. That night I got to talk to my mom on the phone. I will be completely honest I cried. We got a little more time the next day to go shopping where we used our bargaining skills. The next day was spent zip lining. There were eight different lines all leading up the mile long one. On the way up the mountain a man with a machine gun rode with us. After zip line we went on a tour of a coffee farm. On the way home it hit us that the next morning we were leaving. We made our way to the airport at 4 a.m. the next morning. Our flight went to Dallas and then to Chicago where we spent another six hours in a car. At nearly 1 a.m. the next morning we arrived in Fort Dodge.

Leaving was a bitter sweet moment. I missed my home and family but leaving Guatemala I knew I would never see these people again. Going was a life changing moment. I would never want to take it back. The memories I have will be with me forever.





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