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May 22, 2013

Laments of LAX

by carrollministry

So we (Nate and Jennesa) just arrived at the Salt Lake City International Airport and have been reflecting upon the differences we experienced in our few hours back in the states. The kindness and generosity of our brothers and sisters in Guatemala is one of the things that struck me (Jennesa) the most. I especially saw this in the women who cooked delicious meals for us and washed our clothing. They were so happy to do these things and serve us in this way. I was amazed by the way these women were so filled with joy in their giving, especially since we were strangers to them. Another instance of this generosity was when we were at la Asuncion School and I scraped my knee; when I was going to put a band-aid on it, several of the students said they were sorry to see that I got a scrape. I was touched by this, because they didn’t know me but still cared. Experiencing this heartfelt, genuine kindness in Guatemala has changed my perspective on how to treat others, especially those we don’t know.
Before arriving in Salt Lake, we landed in Los Angeles and had to go through customs and security. During these short experiences we were immediately reminded of the contrasts between our own culture and the one we had been immersed in for the past ten days. I (Nate) felt reverse culture shock. Witnessing my own culture after getting off the plane made me very uncomfortable. Seeing the high paced, stressful, intense, hurried Americans in LAX surprised me. I noticed the time oriented, materialistic, ‘done up,’ people around me and I didn’t like it one bit. What made me even more uncomfortable was how the people were treating one another. When I was in the security line, I saw a middle-aged, bleach blonde woman chew out a TSA worker. She made it through security, but came back to the metal detector machines to yell at him about how he handled her shoes. She ended her rant with a aggressive and mean exploitive. Jennesa saw a young family with a baby and a businessman getting in an unnecessary tiff about taking too long in line. The man asked why the family was taking so long and the father said the man could go ahead of them, then he asked if the businessman was in a hurry. The man replied in a huff that he wasn’t in a rush, so the father was irritated that he pushed them along and conveyed this through profane language. Their argument escalated further, until they went their separate ways.
There are many problems in Guatemala, but a positive aspect of their culture we witnessed was how they treated one another, particularly in the rural mountain communities. This inspired me (Nate) to make a little extra effort to converse with a woman who was checking my boarding pass at LAX. It wasn’t much, but I could tell it made a positive impact on her morning. The kindness I saw in the Guatemalans also inspired me (Jennesa) to a wish a barista at Starbucks a great day. We are just about to board our plane to Helena, so thanks for reading and see you soon…well, some of you! 🙂

Nate and Jennesa

Read more from Guatemala

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