With each transition that we make from one place to another, our instructors brief us on where we are going, what we will be doing there, and why we support the organizations that we are going to be involved with. As someone who always wants to know the plan, briefings are exciting times for me. I look forward to hearing about the ‘where’ and the ‘what’, but I have never thought much about the ‘why’.
We are currently staying at Ak’tenamit, an organization that provides high school students from rural communities with practical skills in areas such as tourism or community development. The end goal of this program is that the students will launch careers right after graduating from high school, which is a generally unusual feat in Guatemala.
Before this program, I never would have considered that by staying at Ak’tenamit, we were making a statement about the kind of people we are by supporting a certain kind of future. Staying here has allowed us to not only fund a worthy project, but to learn from the hardworking students. We have had the opportunity to reach outside of our small group and into the community in order to get to know the young people that are the future of Guatemala. Despite the language barrier, today we found common ground and a mutual respect with the students over our shared ambitions and love for learning (while cleaning pig stalls).