During their two week stay, Peacework volunteers gained firsthand experience on issues of poverty, poor health, food insecurity and malnutrition facing coffee farming communities. They also witnessed the sustainable benefits of organic gardens, promoting primary education, increasing health and hygiene awareness and opportunities that beekeeping can offer. In addition to onsite visits projects, local program managers and coordinators were available to provide guidance and instruction. This interaction enabled volunteers to gain more insight into the reasons why projects are developed and the role they play in sustainable community development.
Before leaving, volunteers were encouraged to reflect on what they observed and experienced over the two week period. They wrote messages for those who have yet to experience the communities bordering Lake Atitlan. Their inspiring and informative responses can be seen below.
Thank you Peacework volunteers for dedicating your time, energy and compassion to Pueblo a Pueblo and our partner communities!
What message would you convey to people who know very little about Guatemala and the communities you support during your trip?
“Being exposed and learning about a completely different culture from my own has been such an eye-opening experience”
“Life in Santiago Atitlan might be extremely different then where you come from, but that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily worse. The people here face many challenges but are some of the nicest and friendliest people I’ve ever met.”
“It’s incredible to see the way people have carried on traditions from generation to generation, and held onto their rich culture despite the difficulties and injustice they have faced. The resilience is astounding.”
“Yes, their lives seemed difficult.
Yes, they have much less than we do.
Yes, there were people that were struggling.
But they were proud and they still found happiness and it was an honor to get to know them.”
“There is no better way to learn about a culture than to be fully immersed. There is something beautiful about appreciating a culture other than your own.”