Guatemala Getaway | Teen Ink

Guatemala Getaway

April 19, 2009
By Kelby Stadt BRONZE, Everson, Washington
Kelby Stadt BRONZE, Everson, Washington
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I went to the Central American country of Guatemala a year ago. The experience I was able to gain through giving out wheelchairs, building a disabled boy and his family a house, holding kids at an orphanage, and being in a third world country was an amazing experience. The memories hopefully will stay in my memory forever. When I am down, I can look up and know that someone else has less. This is what my team and I did on our trip to Guatemala.
The first full day we were in Guatemala we drove south of Guatemala City, were we had landed, to Chimaltenango, a city on the south side of Guatemala. Every morning for the next couple of mornings, we would depart from the hotel with armed guards in front of and behind us. These men were to protect us if we were attacked because we would be traveling the same roads at the same time every day. We would travel down a paved road, then turn onto a gravel road, and then turn down the path to the place where we were to build the house. The cinder-block house was in the middle of the family’s cornfield. We finished the walls within three days, but we had to pour cement as the floor because of the disabled boy’s use of an electric wheelchair. When we left, we had the building completed. The house even had a shower, toilet, running water, and electricity, all of which are rare in Guatemala. The family was overjoyed when we gave them their new “Mansion” and got to move out of their rusting tin metal shack.
We then went on a ride to give out wheelchairs to those that need them or need a new one. We handed our about 70 wheelchairs even though we only had 60 people signed up to receive them. One man in particular I had helped into a new wheelchair already had a wheelchair. His old wheelchair had shoestring strung behind him to lean on. In America, I doubt I would ever see that but in Guatemala, he was probably lucky.
Our last stop was at an orphanage. The leader of our group told us that if he had a medical emergency this would be the best place to be. If you were an orphan, this is one of the worst places to be. The kids are in bed until someone puts them in a wheelchair and puts them outside where they may sit for an hour. Then it is back to bed. Some kids are tied into their wheelchairs. Others are drugged so they do not become trouble some. Some kids never get out of their metal crib. I went their and held a boy named Andy. These kids just needed love and that is what we were there for.
The experience of Guatemala is one that I will never forget. It has been etched into my heart as something no human should ever have to experience. I would go again in an instant and would have no problem paying any amount to go again.

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