Two summers ago, I went to Guatemala and I realized the people there are very different from the people in America. Not in the sense that they look different, live in extreme poverty, and quite literally have next to nothing. No. It was a ‘different’ that made me forget all of that. It was a ‘different’ that made me reflect on my own home - where our streets are not poverty stricken and even those who are in poverty have more than these people. It was a different that made me realize how much we actually don’t have.
When I stepped outside the airport in Guatemala City, I expected something like the airport in Chicago or Detroit. Big, very established, and clean. I was shocked when I saw an extreme opposite: buildings crumbling, trash everywhere, and people with no homes lingering (but not begging). As I got deeper into the small cities of Guatemala, I began to realize that these people had nothing. They were fortunate if they could get a ride into a bigger city for work – very fortunate if they had their own transportation. Families of eight were living in a one-room home with one, maybe two beds. This shocking reality isn’t what had the most impact on me, though. It was the amount of joy these people had with how little they had. It was the amount of kindness they had with one another and strangers like myself.
I could not walk passed someone on the streets of Guatemala without them grinning from ear to ear and genuinely saying, “Hola”. These people extended such kindness in every situation, whether it be helping others with something, just speaking wi