I must admit, I never expected to visit Guatemala with 5 kids over Spring Break but that’s exactly where we found ourselves this year and I’m so glad we did. It was a wonderful experience for us all.
Guatemala is northernmost of Central America nations and at the heart of the Mayan empire. It has a rich history and has also experienced a tough history but the country is so beautiful and the people are so full of grace and hope and joy. Perhaps our size (we were like giants among the people) and the Canadian flags helped, but we felt so welcome in this country full of people half our size, speaking a language we do not understand and smiling from ear to ear with those big brown eyes.
The high volcanic mountains, rolling hills and low fertile valleys was enough to make us all feel a little carsick as we traveled from one region to the next but we were still able to appreciate the magnificent landscape which surrounded us.
We spent time in the big industrialized cities, in the tourist attractions but also in the highlands among the indigenous peoples.
Everywhere we went we were astounded by the beauty of this country and it’s people. They work hard, very hard up in the highlands and they don’t have much but they are filled with joy and contentment. They proudly welcomed us into their homes with dirt floors and no flushing toilets and introduced their children sharing their hopes and dreams for health and education for them. They walked us through their gardens and showed us their projects.
By our standards they may not have much, but they truly are rich.
I think we all learned a thing or two about appreciating what we have, seeing our glass as half full rather than half empty, counting our blessings and focusing on all that we have and not what we want or think we need.