Looking back on this year’s Learning Journey on this Giving Tuesday, I am Giving Thanks! I feel re-energized and full of gratitude as I remember the teens in our program opening their hearts and community to our group. As our Learning Journey came to a close in April, I took some time to reflect on the life-changing week I’d just experienced. Here are some excerpts of those raw reflections:
It’s very difficult to put into words all the feelings, shared moments and new friendships that accompany us on a Learning Journey. So much of this experience finds a home in the depths of our souls, where simple words just don’t suffice.
This last week has been an incredibly rewarding experience – profoundly heartwarming – and my spirit is forever changed. What an amazing opportunity it has been to so deeply help a group of our supporters along their journey to connect with so many beautiful, amazing, impressive young people here in Guatemala who are working to not only change their own lives, but the lives of all in their community. As I watched the youth leaders guide us through our days in their community, I was filled with so much pride. They so eloquently engaged both us and the children; welcomed us into their homes to show us their traditional farming, cooking, bathing (in handmade saunas), weaving and more; orchestrated a reading fiesta for 300 primary school children, directing the Learning Journey participants in our different roles for the skit; and shared their own reflections on the work they do to spread literacy in their communities. At the end of the first day, as I hugged many of the teens goodbye, I cried tears of joy and awe as I told them how proud and grateful I was for all they’d organized for us.
And, to each of the members of this Learning Journey – Julia, Tommy, Melissa, Holly, Wendy, Colin, Karen, Cynthia, Sam and Bonnie – each and every one of you brought something special and unique. You opened your hearts and displayed a genuine desire to experience and learn and grow. For that I am incredibly grateful.
Dora, one of our bubbly youth leaders, shared a quote with me as she spoke of the family and friends that we have all become this last week:
Los amigos son como las estrellas, siempre brillan en la oscuridad. “Friends are like stars, they always shine in the darkness.”
I’m so grateful for all of the stars that are shining brightly in the sky of my soul!
Next year’s Learning Journey will be September 28 – October 5th. Learn more here.
By: Macella Varley, Development Manager