I just wanted to share with you the exciting news about my summer. I will be living in Guatemala for part of the summer! From a daily count down, to the ever-growing pile in my room of things I want to take with me, my anticipation is growing by the minute. This past summer in Guatemala marked an extremely influential time of my life that I will be forever changed by. My heart became so much more passionate for the people of Guatemala, especially the working women there. I know Guatemala will be a part of my story for years to come, and I can’t wait to see what God has in store for me there this coming summer. Below is an essay for college I recently wrote that sums up one of my favorite experiences of summer 2013 in Guatemala. Much love, Olivia
I made my way down the dusty, steep road, while my Mom, brother and the local coffee farmers walked ahead of me. I had fallen behind the group, enamored with the absolute beauty of the Guatemalan mountains that surrounded me. Nearing the bottom of the hill, I heard the joyful screams mixed with chatter from the village children who had just finished school for the day. Running down the hill, I coughed as dust from the road clouded over my face. I couldn’t wait to talk to the children and put my Spanish skills to good use.
Once I had reached the bottom of the hill, i unzipped my backpack and pulled out my Poloroid camera. Suddenly, it seemed like thousands of little bodies swarmed me at the sight of a camera. I kneeled down and prepared to take a picture of a little boy on the school’s front steps. The boy’s eyes squinted as the sun glared into his eyes. When he flashed a huge smile, I snapped a picture. When the picture popped out of the top of the camera, I waved it in the wind. Gingerly taking the photo out of my hands after the it had developed, the boy gasped. All the school children cheered and looked at the photo in awe. The little boy proceeded to run through the village waving the photo in has hand and announced that someone had a camera. Then, the families came. A young mother holding a three year old boy’s hand came to me with tears in her eyes and told me that no one in the village had photographs of themselves or their families. I knew then and there that I wanted to change this fact. A long line formed as I photographed the Guatemalan children, one by one. After I finished the four rolls of film that I brought for the entire three-week long trip, I said a sad goodbye to the children.
Although I expected sadness or frustration from the families who didn’t get pictures, I was met with tears of joy and countless hugs from the beautiful Guatemalan people. Some told me that this was the best day of their lives, while others offered to repay me in any way they could. The beautiful “Gracias” that came from each family was more than enough.
Through this experience, I realized that all of the little things in this life matter, and shouldn’t be taken for granted. On a daily basis, my friends and I take countless “selfies” together on our iPhones. Never in a million years did I think that this fact alone could bring people to tears across the world. The simple things in life do matter, even as minuscule as they may seem at times. In my daily life, it can seem so hectic and crazy that it hardly seems like I have the time to take a step back and look at what I have been given. But when I think back to that place in Alotenango, Guatemala, images of dirt roads, whirlwinds of bright Guatemalan colors, and voices chattering in Spanish fill my brain so fast I can hardly stand it. From this event, I have not only learned to be content with what I have been given, but to appreciate every little thing that comes along in this life.