The Independent Variable - Matt Haugland

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Guatemala, Part 1 - The Kids

I'm back from Guatemala! I had an amazing time. It was sad, inspiring, difficult, fun, and maybe life-changing. There is so much I could say about it and so many pictures I could post, but I'll start with the kids at the school I worked with.

67% of the kids in Guatemala don't go to school at all. Most of them work full-time for less than $3/day. Others cannot afford school. Public schools are free, but the students are required to buy uniforms -- which many families cannot afford. I spend most of the first week working at a special school for kids who live in extreme poverty and couldn't afford the public school uniforms (they wore the same dirty clothes every day of the week).

I also visited the homes of some of them. It's amazing that people could live in such conditions. But the kids generally seemed very happy. I was amazed at how friendly, respectful, generous, and patient they were. They loved the paper ninja stars I made for them, and totally loved playing with my digital camera.

(later I'll post pictures of the active volcano I visited and of my trip to El Salvador, Honduras, and Belize)


At 2:52 PM, Blogger Marcian said...

Isn't it amazing how we Americans believe that we all have to live at a certain standard in order to be happy. I think of the homestead-ers on the plains who survived harsh elements and still made it. Many of them stayed focused on God as their provider. And He provided. Certainly he who gives to the poor is actually loaning to God, as Solomon said, but it's rather ridiculous for us to think that being poor makes one any less receptive to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Always beware the one who can destroy both the body and soul in Hell, not the one who can destroy the body only. I'm glad you had a great time, Matt, and I'm looking forward to seeing all of your pictures.

At 2:55 PM, Blogger Marcian said...

PS. If you want to try your hand at "loaning to God", I recommend Compassion International. You and your child exchange letters, and you get the opportunity to visit your child, too. I hope you'll consider it.

At 9:04 PM, Anonymous jamie said...

that is amazing.. I think it is so sad that even though the school is free, the children cannot go because they cannot afford uniforms.

At 7:17 PM, Anonymous Jason said...

We Americans are conditioned to live like we live. We are also given the opportunity to better our selves, therefore that is what most people here would like. We are able to live in poverty if we have to, though we are forced to get an education, which is a good thing. Though our poverty doesn’t compare to theirs, we are still able to adapt to it. It is very sad they have to live in those conditions, however the good thing is, they don’t know how bad they actually have it, because they don’t know any better. Most don’t have the option of bettering themselves like we do here. It is incredible and respectable that you went. I would love to visit, and just being there and talking to them, I am sure makes a world of difference. Even though we may not be able to change the world drastically, we sure can make a big difference. We don’t even have to go to a foreign country to do it. I have we can visit missions and shelter. We can visit people and make them smile. It is not necessarily the money we give, but our actions that can make a huge difference. I have heard that a lot of the people in developing countries are happier than we are here. I don’t know if that is true. The theory for why this is true is because we have too many worries, and stress. We don’t slow down to take time for ourselves, and our lives are too complex.
It sounds like you had a great time, and probably made a lot of people happy just to be visited. I am sure it was an incredible experience. It would put things in to perspective. I know I am been impoverished as a child, and even though it was a horrible experience, I wouldn’t change it. I am who I am because I went through it, but I still know mine doesn’t compare to what other countries go through.


Post a Comment