Guatebuena! – Video

On July 1, 2013, in Uncategorized, by Tim Broyles

Please click the link to watch the video – Guatebuena!

 

Flight delay out of Houston

On June 8, 2013, in Uncategorized, by Tim Broyles

We pulled away from the gate and then the captain said we have a small electrical guidance malfunction. Not a major issue but they are fixing the problem (30 minutes to fix) so, check our flight UA 656 to get new arrival time.

home soon,

Brophy Guatemala Immersion

 

With the Widows of Chontolá, by Ben Crozier

On June 7, 2013, in Uncategorized, by Tim Broyles

First of all, I’d like to assure my family that I’m doing alright and I would also like to wish good luck to the Brophy Crew quad that will be competing at rowing nationals this weekend.

Wednesday was our last true day of immersion trip activities before our time in Antigua and then our long trip home. This morning, as I was still recovering from being sick the day before, we took a winding and occasionally very bumpy road to the village of Chontolá in the Quiche state of Guatemala. In the United States, for the most part, widows are the product of fatal illnesses or tragic accidents, not murder at the hands of the government.

On the path to Chontola.

It was in this small, nondescript mountain village that 40 men were killed by the military 31 years ago. It was 31 years ago that a reign of terror under the misnamed “Civil Defense Patrol” claimed more lives. Men like Maria Tomasa’s husband were killed simply for having the courage to stand up and say no to joining the patrol that was abusing its power in the village. Men were killed and then their families were not allowed to bury them; to do so would be to associate with a man the Patrol had deemed as “bad”.

Maria Tomasa, telling our group about the day her husband was killed by the Guatemalan military. Maria spoke to us in Quiche, her native tongue. She was translated into English by our guide Fidel.

We heard these tales of horror from Maria Tomasa, one of the 85 widows from that town alone. The government or the government appointed Civil Defense Patrol created 85 widows in one of the smallest villages I have ever seen and to me that was shocking. The people killed in Chontolá were not rebels, they were not guerrilla fighters. They were farmers, and they were innocent. The pain communicated through Maria Tomasa’s eyes was tangible; it was enough to completely bridge the emotional gap inherent in using a translator to communicate. I could tell that her pain and the pain of the other widows endures to this day as even now no form of apology has been made by any government of Guatemala.

The one ray of hope that shines through in this narrative is the reaction of the widows and one Pastor Diego after both the military and the Civil Defense Patrol had left the village for good. The widows, finally having returned to their home village, found their homes and farms burnt to cinders. Seeking help from Pastor Diego, the local Methodist minister, 25 widows were able to start the co-op we visited today. Starting with chickens then moving on to sewing and weaving elaborate garments, toys, and blankets of all shapes and colors these women courageously built a new life for themselves. They put away the hatred and anger felt towards the men who had killed their husbands and instead looked forward and put their minds to productive and beneficial tasks. Today the co-op has become the main and sometimes only source of income for the 12 widows still alive to operate it. Passing on much of the work to their children and grandchildren, the widows built something to support themselves through the toughest period in their lives and ended up creating something that will provide an education to their grandchildren.

As I sat in my green lawn chair, still a little queasy from my intestinal issues of the preceding day, my problems looked very mild and unimportant in the grand scheme of things. Sure they were important to me, but it really put my suffering in perspective. Maria Tomasa gave birth to her third child while fleeing her village through the woods with her other two. I couldn’t fathom the pain and confusion that must have permeated those years of terror like some dark rain cloud always on the horizon.

Some of the widows of Chontola making lunch for us– Fried Chicken! It was soooo good!

I wanted to lend my support to these women, at the very least share with them how grateful I was to all of them for their hospitality, but especially to Maria Tomasa for sharing her story. Up until now we had merely heard of the destruction and atrocities committed by the military during the civil war but this was what really brought it into perspective for me. I can’t imagine 85 people in my close community being murdered for no other reason than standing up for what they believe in. I want to share Maria Tomasa’s story, one of both horror and hope, with as many people as I can. To spread awareness of this atrocity I can be a small part of preventing something as terrible as this from happening again.

 

The first five days of the trip were extremely informative, don’t get me wrong. However, for me, that was really all they could be. We have visited such a great diversity of people and organizations, who have shared their knowledge of Guatemalan culture and history. They inspired me with their tales of perseverance and optimism, but all this remained a one-way street. I could not help but feel that something was missing, that I was not giving back to these people in the way that they deserved. By that, I do not mean through service or donations. I wanted to create real, lasting bonds, the greatest form of giving back. It takes me a while to actually get out of my shell and get to know someone, so the few hours we would spend with each organization just were not enough to accomplish this. On top of that, the fact that I do not take Spanish class poses some challenges during conversation. These barriers make it very difficult for me to jump one hundred percent into the experience.

In the Mayan Catholic Church of Santiago Atitlan

For these reasons, my homestay in San Antonio was exactly what I needed. It really gave me no other option but to plunge into the indigenous culture of Guatemala without looking back, and I am very grateful for that. The experience granted me the time I needed to find ways to go past the wall of language with other ways of communication that strengthen relationships just as well. Very soon after meeting my host mother, Mrs. Perez, the first important form of expression, transcending all language barriers, became apparent to me: laughter. Immediately upon arrival at my mom’s house, she put me and my roommate Charlie to work clearing her garden of weeds. We must have looked so ridiculous out there struggling to wield the heavy hoes she gave us. Every passerby turned and chuckled at us; I guess they were not accustomed to seeing tall, American kids working out in a field. I’m not either. None laughed harder or more consistently, though, than my host mom. She would say something in her native language Kakchiquel and then start cracking up. I do not know the words she said, but I’m quite positive she was making fun of us. Although this happened to be the part of the trip where I felt the most out of place, it was also where I felt most welcomed. When they would laugh, I would also laugh, and it became a type of conversation that I could be completely comfortable with. This was also the first moment that I can say I truly shared with someone I had met here in Guatemala; one in which they would remember me just as much as I would remember them. This mutual feeling of friendship was what I had been yearning for the entire trip.

Exhausted, we finally finished weeding the yard, but there was no time to waste resting. We met an eleven year old boy named Carlos, who was hanging around our host mom’s house. Although we are still not quite sure whether or not he is actually related to our family, I liked him right away. I have a cousin from Guatemala with the same name, who turns eleven this year, which is too amazing to be a coincidence. It was with Carlos that I came to understand a second universal language. Charlie and I followed him down to a small square with arcade games and a fenced off court for soccer. He went straight to the foosball tables, and when we pulled out a quetzal, about seven small kids crowded around us eager to play. We ended up only managing the two teams and making sure that everyone shared, but it was absolutely worth it to see the joy we brought to those youngsters. After a few heated games, we moved it to the life-size soccer field. Playing amongst the quick Guatemalan children, who would far surpass me in skill in the future, I did not want to be anywhere else. We hardly exchanged any words, but we shared an experience that more than made up for the lost conversation. Other kids could tell how much fun we were having, and they were eager to join in. Pretty soon I had about twelve new indigenous buddies, all because of my newfound willingness to find bonds in places that words could never take me.

Looking back on the trip, I think most highly of the people I met in San Antonio. This is of course not because they were greater individuals than the people we had met before; it is because I finally seized the opportunity to create friendships and even form a family. Contrary to my hesitations in the beginning of the trip, I was able to do this without a translator at my side. I am proud to say that as I was walking around the city a few days after the great soccer day, one girl that was playing saw me, walked right up to me, and fist bumped me.

 

 We may not always agree with every one of our neighbors. That’s life. And it’s part of living in such a diverse and dense world. But we must also recognize that part of being human is living with your neighbors in mutual respect and tolerance.

 

Ryan and Mr. Fisko on the shore of Lake Atitlan.

I am currently sitting in the back of a fifteen passenger van watching the Guatemalan countryside flash by and trying to gather my thoughts about the past few days. Makeshift homes dot the hillside and every free inch of land is covered in coffee plants and corn. Old Toyota pickups flash by, their truck beds full of men and women. And the afternoon rain clouds are just beginning to roll in over the horizon. As I take all this in I can’t help but feel a bit nostalgic. This experience is coming to an end and as much as I’m craving a juicy American cheeseburger I’m not quite ready to go home yet. Every day has brought new experiences and further insight into the problems at large in our world today. I have come to new understandings and begun to realize that the world is a lot larger and more complicated than I ever dreamed possible.

This past fall, I listened to a student from Georgetown University talk about religious tolerance in the modern world and specifically her experiences living with a Muslim roommate. She believed that due to crude, pervasive stereotypes, a large percentage of the world has become quick to judge and unwilling to understand the various religions of the world. Although I prefer not to generalize, I am inclined to agree with what this woman said.  I cannot tell you how many times I have heard someone say that all Muslims are terrorists or that anyone that isn’t Christian can go rot in hell. However, I feel that despite how hurtful these comments are, the majority of them are bred out of ignorance rather than straight religious intolerance. I couldn’t help but remember this presentation yesterday afternoon as our group explored Santiago Atitlan and learned about presence of the Catholic Church in this tropical lakeside city. 

The Church in San Antonio Palopo.

 

Earlier on in the trip we learned about the history surrounding the Catholic Church in Guatemala. It all began in 1492 when the Spanish arrived in Guatemala for the first time bringing missionaries and the full military power of the Spanish armada. Within twenty-one years, the Spanish had succeeded in conquering the indigenous Mayan people and began forcing them to convert to Catholicism. However, by that time, many of the Mayan people had already chosen to convert on their own. They had seen the superior military prowess of the Spanish as an indicator that the Christian God was much more powerful than their own.

Parroquia Santiago Apostle, in Santiago Atitlan, founded in 1547.

Our introduction to this Mayan-Catholic religion began at the end of dark alley in a small stuffy shrine. The room smelled of rum and incense and at its center sat a small wooden statue covered in clothes with a half burnt cigar hanging from its mouth. Off to the left, a man was kneeling before a statue of Saint Peter, shouting Catholic prayers and bowing his head to the ground. To be honest, the whole thing was a little freaky. Dolores, a native to Santiago Atitlan who had agreed to give us a tour, explained that this was a shrine to the minor Mayan god Maximón. When the Guatemalan people adopted Catholicism as their religion, they simply included Maximón among the other Catholic saints. Dolores explained that Maximón was neither an idol nor affiliated with any particular religion.

The minor Mayan god Maximon.

Inside the Cathedral in Antigua, Guatemala.

Instead, this small wooden statue was a way to tap into religious energy similar to prayer or meditation. People from all religions were welcome to come to this shrine and offer up petitions to their god. At first I was skeptical. The shrine of Maximón looked more like the inside of a thrift shop than a sacred place of prayer. It was only when I recalled that speech from the Georgetown student that I really understood where I was. This small, dingy shrine in Santiago Atitlan was the epitome of religious tolerance and openness. Although slightly sacrilegious and very open to interpretation, I recognized this shrine as one of the few places where anyone of any religion could come and offer up their prayers. No one cared what god you worshiped. No one cared what religion you followed. You were judged by faith alone and without prejudice.

 

From 1959 through 1975 the United States was involved in one of the most controversial wars of all time, the Vietnam War. People can and do argue for hours about the war and how it was just or unjust, but something people tend to agree on is peace. On May 4th 1972 students at Kent State University in Ohio were protesting the Cambodian Airstrikes, During this protest, the Ohio National Guard opened fire on the student killing four and injuring nine more in a mere thirteen seconds. Now, there is also controversy about whether or not the students provoked the shootings or not, but this is not the point I am attempting to make. The theme is that students were murdered by advocating for peace.

 

Michael and Raj view one of the many stones that memorialize the dead at the massacre site.

Today we visited another site similar to the Kent State University shooting in Santiago Atitlan. During the Guatemalan Civil War in the year 1990, a government military platoon was stationed on the outskirts of Santiago Atitlan. Soon people began to “disappear”- which meant the military suspected that those people were part of or supporting the Guerrilla movement and they were being punished for it by death. The people of Santiago Atitlan were growing painfully tired of disappearing victims and they wanted to do something about it. The major problem standing in there way was the mayor. So when the time came, the people of Santiago Atitlan elected a new mayor who was for the people’s idea of stopping the disappearing of innocent people that was taking place. On December 2, 1990 the community gathered at the church to seek for a solution to the brutal problem of disappearing. They decided to create a white flag of surrender to show the military that they came in peace so that the community and the military could discuss what was going on. That night the community of Santiago Atitlan walked up the hill carrying the white flag to crate peace when suddenly the military opened fire of the people killing thirteen of them. The military claimed that they were intoxicated with beer and hard liquor and were drunk. In turn, this created the military to believe that the community of people that were walking towards them was invading Guerrilla soldiers. This was an awful explanation for such a horrific tragedy. This was the product of the military making up an excuse because they were never given orders to fire.  Due to this catastrophe, the people of Santiago Atitlan closed down all of their shops and markets of food to the government soldiers. This ultimately led to the military leaving the town because of the lack of food and supplies. Still to this day, military members are still not allowed to wear their military uniforms in the town of Santiago Atitlan because it still brings up the painful memories of those who had died advocating for peace.

I was born in 1996, so naturally I did not feel the immediate connection to the people of Santiago Atitlan who were massacred. As I began to look around the sacred ground and the stone memorials, I started to make connections with the people. The first memorial I looked at was of a boy who died at the young age of eighteen. I am only a year younger, and my sister is eighteen, so I began to realize and think about how I would feel if one of my family members or one of my friends  was in that situation. I began to think about all of the experiences that they would be missing and how much more they had to live for. The next memorial I visited was one of a nine year old boy who was murdered. When I saw this I instantly thought of my little sister, who is eight, and what I would feel like if this awful thing happened to her. At that age it is incredibly hard to form positions, let alone a position that you would be willing to die for. I came to the conclusion that this nine year old boy who died probably did not know what was really going on and was a victim to a terrible crime. All of the people who died on this day did not expect for this to happen, all they wanted was peace in their town and in their lives.

Dolores, our Mayan guide for the day, remembers the massacre well and explains the ruthless behavior of the soldiers and peaceful protest of the townspeople against oppression.

When we returned back to the hotel this question was posed to the group as a journal question: How do you create peace? After pondering this question and listening to others answer this question, I came up with a solution. My solution is a lot like the movie Pay it Forward. For those not familiar with the film, it is about a boy who comes up with the idea of not paying someone back for a good deed, but instead paying it forward to three different people. My solution is paying forward the ideas of peace, which are: love, listening, and solidarity. If what you are doing is for the genuine love for the other person, then it will be peaceful. If you listen to the person and consider their situation, then there will be peace. Finally, if you walk with the person and do not drag them behind you, then together you will be peaceful. If you spread these ideas of peace to people around you, then eventually people start to focus on others before themselves and create peace between them. This ultimately leads on to bigger ideas, like war, and greater peace around the world.

 

First off I want to say hello to my family and a happy belated 7th to my sister Annemarie. Overall the experience in Guatemala has been a life changing and I will never forget it. In this blog I want to talk about the issue of the Guatemalan school system and the great disparity in it. 

While in San Antonio Palopó during our home stays we were able to visit their public school. The school provided education for over 500 students. Even though this community was very poor it was wonderful and encouraging to know that the children there were able to receive an education. Vicente Perez, the principal of the school, had a daughter and son who went to the school and now one is going to law school and the other to medical school. While these two success stories are very amazing and inspiring, one needs to consider the fact that these were two of the principal’s children.

School Principal Vicente Perez standing in one of his kindergarten classrooms, which is really a hallway.

Nonetheless, this did give me hope that even from a poor town there is the chance to rise above and be successful with the education there. On the other hand, the school is not close to perfect and has many problems. The Ministry of Education in Guatemala, which is similar to the Department of Education in the United States, has set standards for the school, but then hasn’t given them enough resources to even come close to meeting the standards needed for their students.

A boy named Jericho (pronounced HER-i-co) who lives in San Antonio and was part of the family that Kevin Burg, Connor Triplett, and Chase Bishov stayed with, was able to attend a private school in Panajachel. This school cost money, but was much better. Jericho is about to graduate 6th grade and because of the possibilities the school gave him, he speaks fluent English and achieved second place in his science fair. None of the children going to the public school in San Antonio knows English because none of the teachers know it well enough to teach it, and a science fair was a fantasy at the school. Thankfully, with the hard work of Vicente the average class size since he started working there has dropped from 60 students per teacher to 35 students per teacher, but even though this has been great progress for the school, it is by no means close to what it should be. 

Another hallway classroom.

 

The Ministry of Education is a massive part of the problem and I could see the struggle Vicente has had to go through to make the school as best as possible even with the lack of funding because of the inefficiency of MOE. An example of this was the fact that the Ministry would only pay for salaries which meant no funding for buildings. This definitely showed when some of the classrooms literally were in the hallway.

 

 

An example of the great inefficiency was the fact that a whole level of the school was used store hundreds of old desks, chairs, and tables which Vicente could do nothing about them because they were owned by the Ministry of Education. What a waste. While walking around the school all I could think of is the wasted potential these kids had and it will be so much harder for them to really do well and prosper there compared to the private school in Panajachel. While it can be done, as Vicente’s kids did it, is much more difficult. 

After thinking about this school and the difference between the two I think about myself and going to Brophy and having the opportunity through Brophy to discover my talents. While going to public schools in Arizona, one can obviously prosper, but it is nothing close to the Brophy Community. This reality that I knew going into the immersion is even more real now and makes me want to do my part in helping others have the chance for a better education.

 

Michael and Jack Herstam with their host family in San Antonio Palopo.

One of these organizations I hope to work with is Family to Family Foundation. This is an organization which connects families to help pay for education. One phrase that sums this well is “Those of whom much is given, much is expected.” Hopefully through this everyone including myself on this trip can continue to give back and realize the great place Brophy is.

 

Just Might Fall In Love – by Paul Fisko

On June 5, 2013, in Uncategorized, by Tim Broyles

Just Might Fall In Love

The boys had such an amazing experience at the home stays in San Antonio! Had to write a song! The lyrics offer you some of the real reflections the boys offered from this part of our immersion. Enjoy!

 

Health Care: A Human Right, by Charlie Miller

On June 4, 2013, in Uncategorized, by Tim Broyles

Indigenous individuals have an equal right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental healthcare. States shall take the necessary steps with a view to achieving progressively the full realization of this right.

–UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Article 24.2

A popular topic of debate in America today is healthcare. Some people think that everyone should have healthcare provided by the government while others think that everyone should have a choice whether or not to get their own healthcare from private companies. While this seems like an important debate, we often forget that there are many people who do not have the luxury of choosing whether or not to have healthcare. There are many who depend completely on the good will of others to receive their healthcare.

San Lucas Parish Hospital, San Lucas Toliman, Guatemala

In the indigenous Guatemalan town of San Lucas Tolimán, the San Lucas Mission does its best to provide healthcare to as many people as it can. However, the problem is that the hospital run by the mission only has one year-round doctor. This is an extremely concerning problem considering that the next closest hospital is an hour away by boat. To put this in perspective, there are more than forty hospitals within thirty miles of each other in Phoenix.

The majority of the doctors who come to the clinic are American doctors giving up their time for about a week out of each year to give health services to the Guatemalan people. These doctors include dentists, ocular specialists, orthopedists, radiologists, oncologists, pediatricians, general surgeons, and general practitioners. The most common procedures performed are hernias and cysts, which while not life-threatening, can be very painful when they can only be treated once a year, but many other types of surgeries are also performed here by visiting doctors.

A US surgical team performing surgery at San Lucas Parish Hospital.

While the San Lucas Mission hospital does everything it can to help out the people, it is not an ideal situation. The hospital is grossly undermanned and fairly under-equipped. Almost all of the patients are out-patients because the hospital does not have the resources to keep people for any extended period of time. As we toured the hospital we saw a line of about fifteen people waiting to meet with the doctor or to pick up their prescriptions.

Visiting this medical clinic was both very alarming and very inspiring for me. I was startled that a town of fairly good size could have such little access to healthcare. This was really the first time it dawned on me that to some people getting ill isn’t just missing a few days of school or a weekend with friends.

The Operating Room at San Lucas Parish Hospital.

If I were ever to get injured or sick I would be taken care of no matter what the cost. For indigenous Guatemalans with no healthcare, getting sick or injured means waiting months to see a doctor and missing work which means not being able to buy food and support their families. The hospital at Mission San Lucas scared me because it showed me how much I take health care for granted when it is actually so rare in other countries.

As much as I became aware of the lack of healthcare, I also was amazed by the spirit of the members of the San Lucas Mission.

With no money other than donations from Americans and some Europeans, and usually insufficient medical equipment, the San Lucas Mission hospital still manages to treat about 7,000 people a year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The passion the people at the mission showed for giving healthcare to as many people as they could prompted Mr. Broyles and I to begin talking about a Brophy trip. A trip where students with parents who are medical professionals would travel to the mission and give their services to the people.

 

 

 

Waiting in line to see the doctor.

This is an idea I am really excited about because I know that it is something my dad and I would definitely love to do. The hospital at San Lucas Mission really inspired me because it was an example of people making the best out of a pretty bad situation.

Charlie Miller

 

Mission Possible, by Kevin Burg

On June 4, 2013, in Uncategorized, by Tim Broyles

Kevin, Conor and Chase with their Host Family in San Antonio Palopo.

First off I would like to give a shout out to my family. I know I haven’t been able to communicate with you guys so far but I’m doing great and having an awesome experience. Dad, I want to wish you a happy belated 50th birthday. Congratulations, you’re officially old now. Last Friday, on May 31st, before our home stays over the weekend, we visited the San Lucas Mission, which gave us an example of the positive the Catholic community in the United States can have in Latin America. 

It is very rare for a parish or diocese in the United States to successfully extend into countries in the Latin American region. But the San Lucas Mission, originally established by Franciscan and Dominican Missionaries in the 1500’s, which in 1962 was given over to the care of the  Diocese of New Ulm, in the great state of Minnesota, did just that. At that time, the young priest,  Father Greg Schaffer, answered a call for a need in Latin America by choosing to help the people of Guatemala. He was sent to San Lucas Toliman, a small village on the shore of Lake Atitlán, and fell in love with the people’s way of life. He was inspired to be a friend to the poor and marginalized of the small town, and for the next 49 years, was a loud voice for many of the voiceless Guatemalans that were faced with injustice each and every day.

Fr. Greg Schaffer

However, Father Greg wasn’t focused on just directly helping the people; he wanted to be in solidarity with them. He once said, “Solidarity isn’t pushing the poor or dragging them with you, it is walking with them.” Solidarity was and is a key to the mission he created and is the only way Americans can truly help the poor. Even though he passed away almost exactly a year ago, his beliefs and the creation of the San Lucas Mission inspired our group to believe there is more we can do beyond this trip.

When the San Lucas Mission was taken over by Father Greg, he generated four pillars for the mission based on Catholic Social Teaching. They are dignity of the human being, desire for the common good, solidarity, and subsidiarity. These four principles work together as one to form the foundation on which the mission was created. The way the mission acts on these beliefs is by creating projects around San Lucas Tolimán to benefit the citizens of the village. 

These little plants are actually coffee plants that will be GIVEN to poor coffee growers in San Lucas Toliman. When they bear fruit, the mission buys back their produce at a rate one-quarter higher than the market prices.

The four projects that we visited were the women’s center, a hospital, a reforestation center, and a coffee project. We toured each project as a group and learned how they were benefiting the common good of the community.

A couple other kids will focus specifically on a project and the project’s effects. As a whole, they are able to satisfy all four pillars of the San Lucas Mission by creating short term care (the hospital and the women’s center) and long term sustainability, both economically (coffee project) and in nature (reforestation). The projects, funded by donations and run largely by volunteers, provide great opportunity to the Guatemalans in San Lucas Toliman who otherwise would lack the chance to better their lives.

After traveling on the back of a pickup truck around the village of San Lucas Tolimán to tour projects, we headed back to the mission’s headquarters to meet with Lauren, one of the long term workers there. Along with a brief history of the San Lucas Mission and the teachings of Father Greg, she talked a little about why she was called to step outside of her comfort zone and work almost permanently in a poor, small village in Guatemala. Lauren told us that immediately out of college; she had a tough time deciding what direction she wanted her life to go in. She worked two part-time jobs at Macy’s and bartending, struggling to figure out what her calling was. 

Finally, she found her vocation in the form of helping the poor in a place most people automatically deem insignificant. While running the mission, she has begun a Masters in International Public Service at DePaul University, and will be returning to the Sates this December to continue that program. “But,” she says, “after I finish my program, I will be returning to Latin America. That much I know.” Her story resonated greatly with many of the kids in our group. It was tangible evidence that someone raised very similarly to ourselves was able to find peace in her life by simply being a voice for the voiceless. In addition, she gave us a great piece of advice that we can apply to the remainder of our immersion experience and future immersions that we may do. Lauren told us how important it is to learn to listen. As Americans, we can be wired to assume our way of life is superior. But we should not impose our beliefs and understand the Guatemalans can teach us more than we can ever imagine. Altogether, Lauren’s insight on listening and her perspective on why what she does is important gave us all a new meaning to the trip and refocused us on a way we can translate our new-found knowledge into action like Lauren, and Father Greg before her. Their work sets a precedent that if we put our mind to something, anything is possible.

Finally, if anyone is interested in learning more about what the mission does for the people of Guatemala, you can visit their website at www.sanlucasmission.org or their Facebook page.

 

AMDG

 

Kevin Burg

 

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