I come back from every vacation absolutely gushing about the place I’ve just seen. The food was so good! The sights are so beautiful! And the people- SO kind! I have rose-tinted vacation-glasses on when I travel. But in Guatemala, I was volunteering with Books for a Better World, a totally new experience for me. And because I am impossibly accident prone, I quickly landed myself in a doctor's office where I definitely didn’t have my trusty rose-tinted glasses on.
But it turns out, I didn’t need those to have fallen in love with the country and the Guatemalan people, right there in a doctor’s office.
The people really were so kind. I felt welcome everywhere I went. When visiting schools, kids were peering into principals’ offices to wave and giggle and chirp hello and thank you at us. Having dinner with another volunteer’s local friends, they constantly stopped to make sure I understood the conversation (I speak very little Spanish.) Even in that doctor’s office that I never meant to wind up in, I never felt like a foreigner, a stranger or outsider. I just felt cared for
I didn’t think a few days volunteering with Books for a Better World would be such a personal, in depth experience with Guatemalan culture. But it truly allowed me to connect with the country and people in a way I never would have otherwise, and I am eternally grateful to have had an opportunity to volunteer. I can only hope that one day I can take up the opportunity again.
-Alexandra Mikros, 2018 Travel Volunteer