Lessons From the Streets of Guatemala – Part 1

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David?  Was that his name? The man on the street in withdrawal, that we comforted until the paramedics came? Hmm, yes, yes I think it was David.  Wait…no!  It was Daniel!!  Sadly, I’m beginning to forget some of the details about my trip to Guatemala that I never thought I’d forget. It’s been just over four months.  That makes me sad.  It’s amazing how our minds do that.

 

I would like to share with you one of the most personally impacting moments of the trip.  If you recall, I co-led a youth trip back in March.  You can read about what we did while in Guatemala here.

 

We were getting ready to go on the soup run.  The soup run is a evening where our hosts go out into the streets of Antigua with soup/rice and tortillas.  Our group of 19 was divided into two groups and we went on different nights.  In Antigua, the homeless are not allowed on the street until after 8:00pm.  After eight, they are free to sleep, hang out, etc.

 

I went with the first group.  One of the other co-leaders that had been to Guatemala in the past told me not to be a leader that night.  He said he wanted me to experience it all.  Little did I know, that I would in no way be able, NOT to be a leader.

 

Behind the Local Market

Our first stop was behind the local market.  It’s an area where the homeless live, mostly in cardboard boxes or on blankets – nothing more.  The majority of these individuals had addiction issues.  You could tell they were happy to see us.  One gentleman thought that I was a doctor, and started to drop his pants to show me where he was in pain.  Thankfully, his pants stayed on, as I’m definitely not a doctor!  It demonstrated the trust he had in a team of white people, coming to offer help.  Thankfully, our host was able to communicate with him, and eventually arrange some help.

 

The Dump

Our next stop was the dump.  Yep, the garbage dump, where dogs and people live together, scrounging for food.  It was the first time that I had witnessed people using a common drug in Guatemala…glue.  It’s cheap, easy to get, and highly addictive.  They carry it in bottles, dump a little on a cloth, hold it up to their noses and sniff.  It was so sad.  We met Jason, who had celebrated his birthday a couple weeks before with a cake our hosts had provided.  He had never had a cake before. Some of the students on the team met another man named Henry.  He spoke English quite well after  having spent a few years in Texas.  He thanked the students for coming, and asked them to pray with him.  They did. We all piled back into the van, not sure of what emotions we were feeling.  A few of the students were overwhelmed.  Tears were shed.  We weren’t done yet.

 

The story continues in part two. Where you will meet Daniel. who made an impact in my life that I will never forget.  PART 2

 

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