After a few exciting days, we were finally ready to venture into the communities and meet the women of the Association. As a first time traveler, it was exciting to not only meet the women but also see their successful projects in action. Many of you reading may be familiar with these life-improving projects, but to see them beaming with pride as they display the fruits of their labor really expands one’s perspective.
It’s a great reminder that – together – we can enact change through empowerment and sustainable programming to benefit everyone involved. Though it is sometimes challenging to recall that the partnership is an equal exchange, we are all uplifted together. And I got a poignant reminder of this later on in the day.
At what seemed like the top of the world, our group looked down the steep mountainside to a greenhouse below. Eager to check in on the progress of this recently launched project, we cautiously traversed down. It was quite a treacherous trek through the under growth with an uneven path, loose soil, and no railings. We all realized how close we were to unwanted accident.
Someone behind me slipped, which like dominoes, several more of us followed suit reaching out to steady each other. As I reached out to steady the person in front of me, I said, “Don’t worry; I’ve got you!” Then she replied, “Oh no… I’ve got you!”
This short exchange seemed to me to be the essence of our relationships here in Guatemala. While I felt I was only helping my travel partner, Carol, Carol thought she was only helping me. When in reality, we were working together to help one another. In the same way we think we are helping these Guatemalan women, they are helping us just as much to open our eyes to the power of following God’s plan with determination, empowerment, and resilience.
Seeing today’s projects in person, such as raising chickens, cows, pigs, gardens, and a working greenhouse have made me see firsthand God’s plan. As one of the women said today, she thanks God for bringing us to them. And in that same spirit, I am happy to be here and part of this work, and I look forward to experience what the rest of what brings.
~ Amy, New Castle Presbyterian Church