6 months post-Guatemala: A Volunteer's Reflections on her Time Abroad
On 15th October it was six-months since my return from the most amazing trip to Guatemala! I spent 3 months in this beautiful country under the wing of Spanish Marks, living and experiencing the culture of the people and the place. For those of you who are considering volunteering, I can confirm that it has been one of the most rewarding things I have ever done and together with the help and support of Spanish Marks and "Asociacion Fatima", I was able to make the most of every moment whilst learning and contributing to a charity which helps an amazing rural community of around 500 families.
Many friends and family told me that coming home would be the hardest time. However, for me that wasn't the case, (other than the adjustment of re-entering the busyness of a modern city like London) because I realise now how much we in the western world take so much for granted and how much we waste in comparison to a third world country! I strongly feel the reason my trip and return was so sucessful was due entirely to the planning, preparation and guidance of Rustom Marker, during the nine-months of correspondence beforehand, discussing and confirming my role and how my skill-set would be best utilised during my three-months, was invaluable. At times this took me out of my comfort zone, but I wouldn't have wanted it any other way, as my days were always busy and fulfilled!
The experience has given me so much more confidence and has helped me with my learning and appreciation of Spanish and as I visit Spain regularly, I feel I will continue to grow with the fabulous tutelage of my amazing teacher Sandy Basegoda and Spanish Marks.
The hardest part for me since returning is the love, adoration and huge respect I feel for the many people in I met in Guatemala, in particular Lucy, Carlos and Sandy, together with the families and children of the rural communities. On returning to London, the most difficult aspect for me is that I miss these amazing people from whom I have learnt so much. I miss the close relationships built over the three-months of my temporary residency and think of them all every day!
Thank you for everything Spanish Marks and Asociacion Fatima. You will always have a special place in my heart.