Monday, August 31, 2009

August 26: Our last days in San Miguel Duenas

As we reach our last few days in San Miguel Duenas, there is both a sense of progress and sadness. On one hand, the work at the local school is reaching its conclusion with all but two of the six classrooms painted, and almost all of Open Windows completely painted. On the other hand, we are nearly reaching the point where we will have to say goodbye to this place we have called home and the people we now call family.

Some of us will spend a week touring around Guatemala taking in the sights (Mr and Mrs Dharamsi, your daughters are still safe). Others, will be leaving for home upon completion of our work in San Miguel Duenas (including our group leaders Tony and Anita). We will all have to come to terms with saying goodbye to our friend from Alabama, Andrew (who has become an adopted Canadian over the last two weeks). There will be the farewells to the other people who have made this place so special for us, such as Open Windows operator Teresa. Most heart breaking, will be seeing the children of San Miguel Duenas for the final time. It is the children, where our sadness turns to progress. Yes, we may never see them again, but we can be sure that our presence here has made a lasting impression on both them and us.

This trip may have started out with the goal of servicing others in the global community, but I can firmly say that this trip has provided unexpected self realization. Upon returning home, we will not walk through those airport gates the same people that boarded two weeks ago. Instead, we will return with a new found appreciation for what we have, and the opportunities we have been granted merely by living in Canada. Opportunities that many in Guatemala can only dream of. More importantly, the memories of this place will forever be apart of us. Memories that we can use to shape our daily lives back home as we move forward and grow as individuals.

Ryan Barata

Developing World Connections Volunteer Participant

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