Day 1 in Guatemala has been great!! Travel was long and one of our bags got lost... but we have already seen the great ministry of this organization we are working with! Here's the blog I wrote for their website tonight!
"Hola!" from the team from Samford University in Birmingham Alabama!
(pictured LtoR: Ryann, Laren, Lauren, Rebecca, Maddie, Mary, Lauren, and Julian)
Today was Day 1 of our 14 day trip Huehuetenango, Guatemala. The day started off early as most of the team met at the Atlanta airport at 7am!! Our first obstacle of the trip was that several of our bags weighed just a bit over the limit, so we had to repack a few things before checking in... other than that, our flight went smoothly and we were only missing 1 of our 15 bags when we arrived to Guatemala. (The one missing bag only had donations in it... so everyone has clothes, no worries!)
After meeting two other members of our team, Rachel and Meredith, as well as Jeremy and Berta from Buckner... we were taken on a tour of several "transitional" homes that Buckner supports. It was great to meet the kids involved in this ministry, and to see the future of some of the kids we will meet in the orphanage in Huehue. These transitional homes provide a way for the orphans to get an education outside of their village, as well as a great chance to live in a safe and healthy family environment. Berta described these homes as giving the kids the tools they need to go out into the real world, and that it has been one of the most successful ministries of Buckner - Guatemala. During our visits we went to both girls and boys homes, and were given tours of each house. During the tour we learned about the education that the kids receive (home school to get them to a particular grade level, then public or private schools) as well as the tuition costs for college students in Guatemala. I particularly found our conversation about college interesting because the expense for tuition for one semester in Guatemala is what some Samford students spend on books each term. For me, a professional in the Higher Ed field... I was really intrigued by the numbers, and the possiblities for support for these students. The transitional homes are funded totally by donations from churches and individuals like you and me... so if you are reading this and would like a way to contribute... imagine the difference you could make in a kids' life by providing them with a college education which would allow them to become more self- sufficient.
After learning so much from Berta and Jeremy about the ministries of Buckner, we visited their offices and met their staff. It was great to meet some of the people that worked so hard to prepare for our trip.
Later in the afternoon, around 6pm, we checked into the Vista Real (an AMAZING hotel), and went out for a traditional Guatemalan dinner, during which several of us were able to make tortillas with a sweet lady at the restaurant. As Maddie said at dinner, "I think me and Guatemala are going to get along." The food was great, the company was great... and we are all really excited to see what God has in store for us this week!
Our group from Samford came together quickly to plan this trip... but I have faith that we will have an incredible experience working with Buckner. I may be the leader of this amazing group of students, but God is our Leader... and no matter what happens with our plans, we know His will work out. :)
Please keep us all in your prayers over the next two weeks!- Kacey