I am writing to you over my summer vacation, which so far has been filled with such wonderful adventures and opportunities!
As you may remember, I was given the chance to go on a service trip to Guatemala through Marywood this May with a group of students. I have returned with such a happy heart, and I’m glad to be given the opportunity to share with you all.
We departed from Marywood at 3 a.m. on May 18. I spent the night in the IHM Center to avoid the risk of over sleeping. After a short two hour van drive, we arrived at Newark where we boarded our plane and began our journey. This marks the second time I’ve ever been on a plane and my second international flight. It went smoothly, luckily, and provided a great taking off point for our trip.
The first town we stayed in was San Lucas, Toliman. We worked with the Mission there on various projects they participate in within the community. The Mission opened a coffee plantation where local growers sell their coffee for a better price than what is offered on the market. The Mission then processes the coffee and sells it (Marywood Campus Ministry sells the coffee as a fundraiser for service trips, too!). They started a school for young children, they opened a hospital, and they opened a women’s center.
In our time there, we cleaned a school, built stoves, and spent time at the women’s center. It was amazing to go to the women’s center and see all the work wives and mothers do for the family between cooking, weaving, and taking care of children. The mission built the center so the women had a place in the community to come to in order to be together.
I think the most adventurous part of my time in San Lucas was building the stove. In order to get to the family’s home, I had to cross the SCARIEST bridge known to man. It was an experience, to say the least.
We also were at the Mission at the same time as two other universities and it was nice to talk with them and learn what brought them to the mission.
After a short week in San Lucas, we packed up and traveled to Chichicastenango (Chichi, for short). There, we stayed at the equivalent of a boarding school that was started by a congregation of nuns. One of our advisers, Sister Donna, actually worked at the school for 12 years.
We spent time with the girls who lived there and taught drug prevention in the school.
The hardest part of my entire trip was the language barrier, which I thought would be a much bigger problem than it actually was, but was still a challenge. The amazing part was that it did not matter in the school that I could barely speak Spanish and the girls could barely speak English. We still made an amazing connection, and it was so hard to have to leave after such a short time.
I am truly so thankful for the opportunity to go on a service trip with Marywood. I hope that in my senior year I am able to go on another service trip.
Brigid Edmunds is a senior broadcast journalism major. Next fall, she’ll serve as news editor for The Wood Word and as news director for TV-Marywood.