Eli Spahn

When I was preparing for this trip I felt for sure it was going to make me really sad. I was prepared for this, but when I arrived and I saw the dump where thousands of people go to work every day in horrible conditions picking trash out of the dump to sell. Surprisingly, at least for me, I did not feel as sad as I expected to feel seeing the conditions that live and work in. Don’t get me wrong I still was greatly troubled by this, but I was not feeling anything overwhelming. I struggled with this for some time throughout the trip. During this trip we got on a bus each morning from Antigua, where we were staying  to Guatemala City where safe passage is. On this hour drive we got to see the places where the poorest people lived and all around the city. At Safe Passage we got to play with the young children, help tutor older children, talk to mothers about their experiences, and talk to teachers about Safe passage. I had so many good experiences playing with the younger children. I remember one time I made a paper bag puppet with a pink pom-pom nose and was having it walk around and talk. Then I put a pink pom-pom on my nose and the puppet and I became friends the kid that I was with did not really interact with us but the pom-poms got him to open up a little. Another experience I remember very clearly was learning mayan with a few grandmothers. They taught up how to say 1-6 and a few colors in mayan and then we had to remember all of them in the next game we played. Playing the game with the grandmothers and then afterword having them teach us the mayan chicken dance was just so much fun. Throughout all of these amazing experiences I began to realize why I was not very sad. The people around me even the people that I saw working in the dump or sleeping on the side of the road did not seem sad to me. This was even clearer when I was in Safe passage itself.  All of the young children and mothers seemed so happy. Maybe this is just because they don’t know what they don’t have, but I don’t think that is the case because they see rich people living in guatemala and they see rich tourists pass through every year. I think that this shows on a fundamental level that happiness is not gained with possessions or a good life– it’s about whether or not you focus on the good things or the bad things. This is what my mind was doing at the beginning of the trip…focusing on the good things… focusing on the fact that these people are happy and not that they have worse living conditions. At the same time this does not mean that we should not try to help them because they still need our help. This is why safe passage excels it and why it is such a great organization.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *