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)