Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Poco a Poco

So this blog post is inspired by my insane longing to be back in Central America because missing everyone is way harder than it should be... I've been back in California for almost two weeks now and I still find myself constantly reliving moments and memories from throughout the summer. I decided to make some posts to share some of my thought process dealing with being home and maybe start finding clarity through actually having a time to breathe and process after this non-stop summer.

So this post is titled "Poco a Poco" because that is literally my new favorite phrase.. I've heard it forever but it finally got real meaning this summer. One day our LTV coordinator was talking to all of us in the house and she mentioned that we were looking to name the new office building for the mission and of course we were all super excited and there were a million ideas (which, let's be real, most would never actually work) but then someone said "Poco a Poco" which means little by little. Now, it never actually ended up getting named that but when it was said it instantly seemed to fit the building, the mission, our work, our lives, and it became my motto for the summer... or maybe longer.. it still is so I don't know how long that is going to go on for. ;) Then I came home and I was talking with a friend of mine about mission work in the past, this summer, and possibilities for the future and teasingly I was like, "one day I want to change the world," and he just kind of paused for a moment and replied, "Are you serious, Kenz? You've already started to change to world! Granted you're not known all over the world yet like Ghandi or Mother Theresa but everything you do through your mission work or every day at home is changing the world little by little. I believe that one day you're gonna change the world in a radical way but until then little by little is all you need" Woah. There is was again! Poco a poco.. or little by little. Then today that converstaion was relplaying through my mind and it got me thinking, I've been away from Guatemala for 30 days and every day since then I have gotten at least one message through social media from someone from there. every. single. day. for 30 days! That's huge to me! It is such a blessing that I got to meet so many people this summer that care enough to try to keep me a part of their lives. I don't know about you but writing someone means you care about or miss them because they impacted or changed your life in some way and impacting lives is changing the world in my opinion, maybe little by little but change is still change no matter the situation or size. Throughout the summer people kept saying some variation of "thank you for making an effort to get to know the Guatemalan people." That one was big to me. Thank us for getting to know them? How about thank THEM for showing us their homes, introducing us to their families, and letting us be part of their story for a little bit! I think it's really beautiful how humble the culture there is and we got to see that maybe, just maybe, taking the time to talk to someone, getting to know a little about them, talking them about the insane love of Papa God, and giving them time to just listen to whatever they have to say can make them feel special, like they are worth something, that someone cares about them and that, that is a way to change to world poco a poco.
Saturday, August 2, 2014

Brigades, adventures, and my despedida

(The LTV family the morning I left)

The second half of July flew by even quicker than the first. The mission was packed with people every day since the last post. We continued to go to all of the regular projects (coffee, reforestation, stoves, and the various construction sites) and create relationships with the volunteers that came. There were also two medical brigades the past couple of weeks. I want to thank both Ohio and Wisconsin for letting me come along. The three days that I got to be with the Ohio brigade and the day I got to be with Wisconin were so amazing. Thank you to all of the doctors, residents, and students for your patience with my translating and willingness to explain and teach me about everything from general problems to ear/eye/throat exams to pharmacy. Our house was up to eight people which definitely made everything an adventure. :) One Saturday we all got to get away and go to some hot springs about three hours away near Quetzaltenango (Xela). We also got to go to our neighbor's house to celebrate her son Jonathan's birthday and learn to make pupusas which were so delicious! Wednesday I lead my last tour in the morning, went to the cemetery, and did my final goodbye house visits. Then that night we had my despedida at our house complete with cake made by Katie, my favorite people, and games. Then Thursday I flew home. It's still so surreal that this summer is over. It was such an amazing experience and I'm so grateful for the opportunity to be able to do everything. I'm on my way to the east coast to visit my brother for a while but I will try to post more Guatemala things soon.  

(Working the pharmacy with the ohio brigade)

(Gracie and I in the chicken bus on the way to the brigade) 

(My brigade team one day) 

(Steve and Annie Grass :))

(Last day with my stove workers)

(One of our neighbors, Anderson) 

(Teaching Mario about dares one night at Toliman with frosting mustaches)


(Coffee in the bodega)

(Seeds, baby trees, plastic, and hole cutting machine at reforestation)

(The amazing person that makes reforestation run) 

(Soccer at the women's center)

(Housemates hacked the ipad)