June 1-14, 2015

Day 8: Camino Seguro

Today we woke up to a great breakfast of fresh fruits and yogurt, but we weren’t all very hungry right away so we didn’t eat much. Breakfast was early today, at around seven, but we all realized what happens when you don’t eat enough breakfast later in the day, and we were all hungry. Today Bob wanted to show us the school that the most recent Guatemala trip set up previously. It’s called Camino Seguro, or Safe Passage, and it’s a really special place. Safe Passage is located in the heart of Guatemala City, and takes in students whose parents and families have worked at the city dump for generations. (I suggest Googling images of the Guatemala City Dump for a good idea of what it’s like).

Safe Passage has a preschool program, a middle to high school program, as well as a program for the often single parents of these children. Frances and Sally came to these schools a few years ago and set up the existing computer lab there. All of the kids there are so cute and the school offers them a half-day escape from the threatening city outside of the walls and the dump where they might’ve had to start working at after they were old enough. Safe Passage gives kids and parents an education that they wouldn’t have the advantage of receiving at a young age normally (due to the small, but significant prices of public schooling). The parents also get an education in order to have the ability to help their own children have opportunities for homework help and a better understanding of things they see every day (like the newspaper). The parents are so motivated to continue their education and stay ahead of where their family is in school, which I think is amazing. On the way there, we passed through a cemetery, and it was nothing like any cemetery I’ve ever seen in the US. The graves were mausoleums and they housed multiple coffins, often of the same family (depending on budgets). The cemetery was also right above the dump, and sadly, some mausoleums had begun to fall off of the growing cliffside into the trash. Also, there were hundreds of vultures flying over the dump, which we first saw above the cemetery. The entire sight was really shocking, and the whole day really opened our eyes to the extreme differences between our 1st world country and the capital and heart of this 3rd world country.

After visiting the three buildings that share the mission and vision of Safe Passage -- the pre-k through kindergarten, the middle to high school, and the building filled with mothers who have more passion for education than we could ever come to have ourselves -- we then continued to the jewelry store above the adult classrooms. As a work opportunity, the mothers at Safe Passage are taught how to make paper beads and recycled jewelry, and they make a lot more money selling their work than they ever might have scavenging through the city dump. Every thing Safe Passage does makes me want to volunteer there when I’m older, and definitely sponsor a child. Today was definitely a highlight of the trip.

Well, I’m pretty tired, and we’re almost up-to-date with the blog, so

Until next time (soon!) , xoxo -- Tired Kylin and Sleeping Jessica :)

Mike's Bird of the Day: Black Vulture