I went to Guatemala for 9 days and worked on a Bottle School Project!
This was not as easy as I thought it would be. Even before I went I started experiencing nerves and anxiety. I was going to be meeting a large group (20 people) from San Francisco and San Diego that I had never met before. I would have to be social and “normal” for 9 days without any downtime. As an introvert, I need my decompression time. I also would not be able to run as much, and I wasn’t sure if Guatemalan food would be able to accommodate for my veganism. But despite my worries I packed my carry-on and boarded the plane for a new adventure.
Needless to say, all my worrying was for naught. The group was welcoming and everyone was nice. I did feel excluded at times, being the only person from Portland not in Rotary, and being the youngest. But I also met some truly incredible people and a gal from San Francisco who shared my love for running, so we went running (ran loops around a soccer field) in San Martin together.
Building the bottle school was he most backbreaking manual labor I have ever done in my life. We spent 4 days mixing cement by hand, and every night my shoulders and back ached, but I never slept so sweetly 🙂 As promised, the members of the community were working with us side-by-side everyday, children too. They loved that we were there and the first day and especially the last day were celebrations. They performed dances for us and we played local games.
One of the most touching things that I got to hear wen I was there was a talk given by a local farmer who had illegally migrated to the U.S. Hearing his perilous journey brought tears to my eyes, and I wasn’t the only one. He glowed with aspiration when he talked about his time in the United States. And it was painfully clear how much he wanted to risk his life and go back again.
I am proud of what the Rotary clubs were able to accomplish in San Martin. It was amazing the new bridges we built and the incredible people we were able to meet. I am proud that I surmounted my fears and went.
And lastly, since I have been back:
It’s been a busy week. But I am fully into my running training now, this past week I ran 61.8 miles, with long run of 17 miles yesterday. I have 4 months to train for my time goal of 2:37 at the Newport Marathon.