- Jami Pond
- I am studying Psychology and Sociology at Utah Valley University, and working at a treatment center for troubled teens. I love life, being with people from all cultures, speaking Spanish, and traveling all over the world. I will never stop laughing, dancing, singing, enjoying, appreciating, and just being.
Monday, July 12, 2010
I have been in Guatemala now for exactly a week long. So far, I feel like I have already had the most amazing and rewarding experience being here. One thing that I got to do that was very fun was I met with a local at the school for an hour and she would teach me Spanish and I would teach her English. It was so interesting to find out about her life and be practicing my Spanish at the same time. I could not believe this girls strong desire and determination to learn English. She was 22 years old and has grown up living at an orphanage practically her whole life. Her father past away when she was five and her mom did not have the money to take care of all her kids so she had to send her there for good. Since she has lived there for so long, she now works at the orphanage and because of that gets the schooling she needs to learn English and get a degree. I could not believe this girls story and it inspired me so much, knowing the things she has experienced in her life and how much strength and passion she still carries in her heart. She was telling me that the orphanage has become her family and she is very happy there. Last Thursday, our whole group was able to switch to volunteer in the same orphanage so we could all be together. Even though my sister and I loved working at the hospital, we were happy to finally be with our friends and be able to play with all the children. We have to take 2 different buses to get there and it can get a little crazy. The buses are packed with so many people so sometimes you cannot even sit down. Once arriving, there was about 300 kids of all ages just running around outside playing on a little play ground and playing games. They were so thrilled to see us and gave us so much love just within a few minutes of knowing us. I could just sense how much they desired to be held and loved from any of us visitors. They would not stop smiling at us and jumping into our arms. There was one little boy named Carlos that has problems with his legs. He limps while he walks but has the biggest personality and most beautiful heart. He was always just laughing and making funny faces, bringing everyone around him joy. Just that first day of us working there brought me so much excitement and joy just knowing we would be with these kids for another week. It meant the world to me just to be in their sweet and innocent presence, providing them with unconditional love. This weekend we traveled on a bus 9 hours to a place called Sumoc. It is up in the mountains where it is so green and just breath taking. There were these teal pools we got to hike to and swim in. We also slept in these hut like houses that where in the middle of the Forrest. It was definitely a cool trip and well worth the long drive. We also got to go tubing down a river that was really fun. We got back on Saturday night so we were able to attend church on Sunday morning. The spirit was so strong in the chapel and it just felt so comforting and peaceful to be in the church and to partake of the sacrament. Later, my sister and I were walking into the town when we came across a familiar face. We spotted this little girl in traditional Guatemalan clothing, laughing and running down the street with her mom and brother. We realized we had met them in the park the week before and adored this little girl. She had little dimples on her cheeks and was always smiling at you. The mother was happy when we came up to the kids and showered them with attention and love. The mom asked us if we wanted anything and because we had taken pictures with her kids, I felt we should give her a little something to pay her back. We sat there in the streets for a while and just played with the two kids. I have never seen such a beautiful and happy little girl in my life. I knew that these poor family had very little because the mom, Maria, was on her own with these 3 small children the ages of 1, 3, and 5. The little kids, Danny and Victoria, kept going through my bag and looking at my books and in my journal. I showed them pictures of my family and friends that were in my journal and they were just so happy to be with us and bonding. Their precious little smiles honestly lit up the whole park as we were all to hanging out together. The mother Maria seemed so grateful for us to be playing with and loving her children. As we left this cute family, I promised to come back and see them again on Tuesday in the park and told them how much I appreciated and loved them. I gave the mother a lot of money and hugged her goodbye. I know we ran into this family in the park for a reason and I know that we have the potential to help and love them while we are here in Guatemala. I pray for this precious family and hope they are always in safety and are happy. As we left the park on the way back home it was poring rain. As we were running, I noticed in the corner of my eye a young girl limping alone in the rain. I stopped to look at her and noticed she was missing both arms and one of her feet. She could barely make steps down the rode and was trying to shield herself from the rain. I wondered how on earth anyone could abandon this poor and helpless little girl at her age and in her poor condition. I walked up to her and put money in her purse for her since she was not able to. I look her directly in the eyes, being speechless and my eyes filled with tears, I hugged her fragile body and smiled. I know that God loves all his children and regardless of their outside appearance or of their lifestyle, I know he would want us to give to them love and to shine our light before them. I hope this little girl knows how much she is loved by her Savior and I hope through others on this earth and through their service, she will receive that kindness and love and always feel joy. I am so happy to finish such a fulfilling week here in Guatemala and I cannot wait to see what is to come for the rest of the trip.