Greetings from Guatemala!
'Guatemala, where the rainbow gets its colors.'
Eight Kildonan students, accompanied by College Counselor Joy Klvana and a parent, embarked on a service learning trip to Guatemala during the last week in March. Their adventure was as bright and beautiful as the country itself. The trip was busy, filled with volunteerism, community service, and learning about Guatemala's culture and its people. In Santiago, they admired three volcanos during a boat trip across the lake. They visited a church that was built in 1540, witnessing the worshipping of "Maximon," a Mayan deity.
Senior Courtney was surprised by hospitality of the people who live in Guatemala, adding they "were all welcoming and nice."
The Kildonan group visited towns, shopped in markets, learned to weave and cook, participated in a cultural dance and a wedding ritual, and visited both a coffee plantation and a chocolate factory. They were able to eat in restaurants and sample traditional food. Junior Lily enjoyed "seeing how another culture lives their everyday lives, and how it is so different from how we live our lives."
The students all agreed that what struck them the most was how happy the people are despite widespread poverty in Guatemala. "No matter how poor they are, they are the most happiest people you can ever meet," said 11th grader Tyler-Berri. "They work hard for what they have and this is what makes them happy, and also grateful," agreed 9th grader Emily.
Gratitude was a lesson well taught to our students all along their journey in Guatemala. The students participated in two days of service in Panajachel working with children and the elderly. They built an onil stove with proper ventilation for a family, and installed a water filtration system. But their most meaningful project was carrying a mattress up a very steep and narrow hill to deliver and build a bed for a 13-year old boy with Down's Syndrome. The boy had never slept in a bed before. "When he took off his shoes and lay on the bed and said, 'this is mine,' I literally cried," said Jon, a junior at Kildonan. "He was so happy," agreed 9th grader, Gavin.
Their visit to Guatemala won't be forgotten, as all the students found their trip and service work to be a bonding experience. Mrs. Klvana noted how they all realized "how a small act of kindness can be appreciated...and how our group of students worked together. We are a family!" Their time in such a culturally rich and friendly country vibrantly colored the lives of these Kildonan students forever.