For those new to my blog and life, I am from Guatemala. I lived there until I was 18-years-old and then I moved to the US in 2005. And if you haven’t been paying attention to the news lately, because let’s face it can be quite depressing to see this world is going bananas, there was a volcano eruption last Sunday June 3rd that has affected over 1 million people and has caused great amount of damage to the villages nearby. Here is a link to an article that briefly covers what happened.
There are plenty of resources to learn more about what happened, how are people been helped, and also about the challenges that came because the government is just not the best and it is complicating things. And also there are plenty of organizations collecting things for the victims. If you are not in Guatemala but would like to help the victims, you can do it through sites like this one that will be dividing the money into three smaller organizations that provide different aid. Or you can also visit this page that has information of banks in the US and other countries where you can deposit into an account that will be managed by Guatemala’s Red Cross.
Now, I just want to take a brief moment to update you of how I feel about all of this. It might sound crazy to some but I’ve had the hardest time since this happened. Why? Because I love Guatemala. I love my people. I know that the majority of Guatemalans are poor and even more so the ones who live in the villages affected by the volcano. I know Guatemala has a big heart. Our people have a big heart. Sadly in the city the gangs have make things extremely challenging for the citizens, but most of the Guatemalans are people with strong values, and deep morals. Because it is a poor country, not everyone is educated. There is a high number of illiterates who only know basic math to buy and sell things. Education is a privilege to very few and even more for anything after high school.
The last time I was there I was reminded all around why my people are so great. I would go to the store and be greeted with such warmth. People are polite. Very polite. Not all of course, but the vast majority is. I would be walking down the street and someone would cross me heading in the opposite direction and even if I didn’t know them they would say “buenos dias” or “buenas tardes”. Are you talking to me? To an stranger? Oh, wait, that’s right! I’m in Guatemala that’s what they do here because people are not drowning on their phones all the time or think they are too good to talk to others even if it is just to say good morning or good afternoon. When they take your order anywhere, small mom and pop shop or larger chain restaurant, they greet you with a big smile, a voice tone that most certainly is very friendly, and they are polite! I don’t know about you, but I’ve been to many restaurants where you can tell the servers hate their job and are only there for a paycheck. Well, in Guate even if they hate their job, they will remain nice and professional. I am so very much positive that is a cultural thing. I’ve met people here in the US who visited Guate and everyone made comments about how nice and friendly the people over there are.
So my heart just breaks looking at footage of rescue efforts and victims. There is a lot of raw footage because TV isn’t as controlled as it is here that everything gets flagged as inappropriate and then all you are watching is blurred imagines. Nope. Over there while it might be harsh to see, they share very raw imagines. But it is the reality. The hard reality. And knowing the amount of poor people is large and that this type of disaster is so much harder on them because they can’t get the help, just breaks my heart. Guatemala is united; the government isn’t. The people care for each other, and fight together. I can’t wait to be back. I wish I could be there now to help.
If you haven’t yet added Guatemala to your bucket list, it is time you do so. There is so much to do over there. So many wonderful people to meet and share with. I promise you won’t be disappointed by its natural beauty and even more by its sweet people. So many places to visit like:
- Tikal. Be prepared to get a good workout going up and down those ruins. Be prepared to be amazed. More info here.
- Lago Atitlan (Lake Atitlan). Breathtaking views and lots to do around the 12 villages that surround the lake. Here’s a picture I took the last time I was there. More info here.
- Semuc Champey. Mother Nature is beautiful and this is just proof of that. More info here.
- Antigua Guatemala. This is probably the top touristic place because is fairly close to the city. Be prepared to be taken back in time. Great walk, great history, great ruins. More info here.
- Rio Dulce (Dulce River). We have warm places too. And El Castillo de San Felipe is a great place to visit. More info here.
Ok, sorry but I just love Guate and just wish the world can stop by and see it. But again, at this time pretty please pray for Guate. The volcano is still active and yesterday they had to stop the rescue efforts for safety reasons. I pray that the worst part is in the past and now people can start getting the help they need to continue with their lives. It doesn’t matter what religion you profess, please pray for Guate and its people. If you are not religious, then please send your positive thoughts or vibes their way.