Now Boarding: Guatemala Mission Trip

“If Donald Trump becomes our president, I’m leaving the country!”Guatemala Mission Trip

Well…  I am, and I’m not alone. Coming with me are Annie Ellis, Corrinna Renville, Leykza Carreras, Adam and Ben Lepinski, and Regan Mies. Rather than heading over to Canada for political persecution, however, we are off to Guatemala on a mission trip! We will spend a total of eight days in Guatemala. I speak for all of us when I say that this trip has been long awaited.

We will fly into Guatemala City late on Saturday the 19th, and spend the night in a hotel near the airport. The next morning we will drive to Antigua, and spend the next two days there. During these two days in the capital city, we will be touring the beautiful and historic churches, streets, museums, and of course, restaurants! On Monday, we will take a very bumpy two hour trip to Panajachel. There, a fascinating boat ride on Lake Atitlan awaits us. As the sun sets, we will take a stroll through the markets of Santiago, dine in an authentic Guatemalan restaurant, swim in a hotel-side pool, and enjoy the view of the Lake Atitlan. The following Tuesday morning we will take a 45 minute drive to the mission of San Lucas Toliman, where we will spend the next five days. Rather than tour and dine however, we will be working and helping out.

In the village of San Lucas Toliman we will be helping create a sense of sustainability with various projects. These projects include reforestation and tree planting, hauling rock and dirt, painting, coffee bean sorting and hauling, constructing and laying the foundation for schools and other buildings, along with many other projects.

Thursday, November 24th, is Thanksgiving! I know what you may be thinking, “What!? You’re spending Thanksgiving in a little village in the middle of nowhere in a foreign country!?” Yes. Yes I am. Thanksgiving is about being thankful, and I’m thankful for so many things. When Thanksgiving comes around, I will be giving opportunities to others to have some of the things they might not have had before. In my opinion, the feeling of giving back to the world in such a direct way beats a five-course home-cooked meal any day. Although I do look forward to it when I return!

A woman, her children and a dog are seen at Manuel Colom Argueta neighborhood in Guatemala City on December 22, 2013. AFP PHOTO / Johan ORDONEZ

In many ways, our trip to Guatemala is very unlike any of the other trips offered here at Prep. We will be witnessing extreme poverty, hunger, and sadness, which is something unlike anything we’ve ever been exposed to here. The unfortunate reality of this, is that these things are occurring in so many places all over the world right now. When we travel the almost 3,000 miles that it takes to reach the little village in the middle of nowhere without any cell service, we will be changing the world with our bare hands. The things we will be doing may seem small, but they mean everything to those villagers. We will be changing lives, and I know that for me, it will be the best Thanksgiving yet. I encourage you to give back this holiday season; to show that we at Saint John’s Prep are willing to give our time to helping others, and make the world a better place; one step at a time.