March 5th 2017: More than a Memory
I woke up today in disbelief that this would be the last day of adventures. The team chattered over hot coffee and a delicious breakfast for one of the last times, excited for the day to come.
Today we hiked Picaya, an active volcano about an hour’s drive away. We arrived and were immediately greeted by dust yet were filled with excitement to make it to the top. It was about an hour hike up, with some absolutely insane views. "I feel like I'm on another planet," Kathleen Halvorsen exclaimed as we were surrounded by dry lava rock. At the top of the volcano, we took endless amounts of pictures and roasted marshmallows in a crater. We then headed down, slipping on the sand and rocks and laughing all the way. It took less than an hour to get back to the buses and we were back on the road home for lunch.
As I'm writing this, I am looking forward to the last night in Antigua. It still is unreal that the trip is nearly over, and in two days I'll be back in class and into the regular routine. This week flew by, filled with so much happiness and laughter.
Many people have asked why we chose to go to Guatemala over spring break. For me, coming to Guatemala has been so much more than volunteering. In reality, it is so much more than a trip away. In the past two times I have been to Guatemala, I have learned about a culture and gotten to know people that I have fallen in love with.
The people here have taught me so much about myself and how I go about everyday things. At home, I'm stressed about the littlest of things. In Guatemala, I've learned it is OK to go with the flow, and that a smile can honestly improve any situation you are in.
Coming home this year. I feel that I have really come to appreciate the people of Guatemala, and that I did more than just give out medicine. From the HF workers, to the patients, to the doctors, to my own peers, some who I barely knew before this week, I've been forever impacted by.
"This trip reminded me to enjoy the little moments," Priya Sankaran said as we reflected on the week.
I really don't feel ready to come home, but I have a new level of positivity and energy, one that I have begun to learn is very special to Guatemala. The worst part of any break is the end, and as much as I hate to leave, I know my mom would not be too happy if I tried to miss my flight. This week flew by, a whirlwind of new experiences and lessons for new and old members of the trip alike. At least for now, I know it is time to go home.
It's not bye forever Guatemala, it's see you later.
- Hannah Goosen
Humanity First is registered in 43 countries across 6 continents, and has been working on human development projects and responding to disasters since 1994. These have included the earthquakes in Turkey, Pakistan, Japan and Iran, floods in Africa and Latin America, hurricanes (Katrina and Rita) , tornado's (Kansas) and wild fires (California) in the USA, Indonesia and Bangladesh, and conflicts in Eastern Europe.
Since its inception and IRS registration in 2004, Humanity First has been focused on spending most of the raised funds on direct program related expenses. As a result, more than 90% of its funds are in that expense category. This is achieved through dedicated volunteers in its management, and program operation teams.