Guatemala has been very interesting for me. I have been to many different villages and areas like this in Mexico before and have seen many of the things that are happening in Guatemala. It is amazing to me how kind and generous people are here. They are willing to give us so much and they have so little. They make us feel like celebrities and they really have no reason to do so much for us. At the school we were given two meals that had meat in them. This is such a big deal for them since they never eat meat with any meals and we received two meals with meat in one day. They also cleaned the pool for us and picked up around the school so it was a lot cleaner.
One thing that has bothered me is the lack of infrastructure and the education system in Guatemala. The lack of infrastructure bothers me the most in that they waste so much of the Federal funding on useless projects. An example of this is on our hike yesterday when we were walking along the trail and saw a brick lined road that was only about 100 feet long and out in the middle of no where. Why can’t they use this funding to help clean their water supply or figure out a better option for the trash they just throw everywhere? Everywhere you look there is trash. People here have no care and I blame most of this on the government. The reason for this is that they have no where to put the trash and the government doesn’t educate them on how to take care of it. With the education part I see many flaws in it. Once a teacher has tenured they don’t even have to show up to get paid and don’t even have to show up to class. The government here only provides free education until middle school and once in high school they have to pay for it, which many families can’t afford.
I am still trying to find the source of this problem with the lack of infrastructure and the education system. The source that I keep coming to is that it is the government’s fault. The government here seems very corrupt. They waste their money on very poor infrastructure including roads, electricity, building and they don’t even have money some times to pay their federal employees like the police. At night the wattages goes down because they do not have enough electricity because the power lines were so poorly made.
Growing up I have always wondered why my Aunt Mary who is a US ambassador always stressed to us and told us how hard it was to get stuff accomplished with a government that is not willing to truly help its people with its true needs. She has always told me that I should expand my thinking and not just look at things from one perspective, but rather look at things from many perspectives. I think the government is the major issue with Guatemala and I have no idea on how to change it. The main way we can promote this change is through educating the children so that they will become aware of these issues and to help solve these major problems.
At the Mission we have learned so much not only about the people in Guatemala, but different situations that have happened. The people here are so generous and are willing to help us so much. We have witnessed so much here from the poverty of the people to a little kid trying to pick pocket us. This Mission provides so much for the people here whether it is educating them, helping them in the medical center, or providing them with a source of faith. However, this Mission is just a crutch for Guatemala and doesn’t help the long term outcome for this country. We keep hearing here that the big problems are up to Guatemala to solve. I hope that I will continue to learn about this country on this trip and will try to find the many answers to all the questions I have.