Wednesday, July 11, 2012

My Gutemalan Adventure Begins

I remember my first every flight. It was to the Dominican Republic. There was some turbulence and we had a rough landing. I had no idea this was not normal so wasn´t concerned. Experienced flyer's however began clapping because we landed safely.

This was the only time I had experienced applause during a landing. In all the flights I have taken--and there have been quite a few--there was no clapping, until my flight to Guatemala.

My whole preparation for this trip was not up to my usual standards of what can still be considered unorganized at best. I left everything to the last day which ended up being a holiday and everything was closed. I bought sunscreen and toiletries at a 7/11. I also didn´t bother to check that it is rainy season and I should have packed a raincoat of sorts. Additionally the weather gets quite cold at nights and I didn´t bring any extra sweaters. I also did not pack a towel or washcloth. Ooops.

My flight from Toronto to Mexico City went off with no problems. I purchased the second and third Hunger Games books that I began to devour on the plane.

I had a few hour layover in Mexico and began to hear a lot of Spanish being spoken and realizing that this is what I can expect when I get to Guatemala. This started the adrenaline to pump through my body. When I got on the plane I had a bad feeling that I couldn´t explain. I figured it related to my organization.

Between staring out the window and reading, an announcement from the pilot came over the speakers. He said the wing defrost was broken. A short while later he announced it was too dangerous to land in Guatemala City and we were headed back to Mexico City.

A short while later yet again the pilot came on and announced that it was also unsafe to land in Mexico City. Instead, we landed at a random airport in Mexico somewhere between Mexico City and Guatemala City. There we had to wait for 3 hours for them to send a plane from Mexico City to pick us up.

My friend Kristen, a member of Long Way Home was waiting for me at the airport. I feel bad she had to wait so long, but what really could I do?

Monday, July 2, 2012

Long Way Home

As some may know, I have left Kuwait for the summer and have just spent some time in Ontario for my summer vacation.

My next adventure is in Guatamala volunteering for the organization Long Way Home. The following is Long Way Home's mission statement:

Our Promises

To the community, we promise:

  • To provide a safe environment for education and recreation.
  • To bring and share innovative ideas in the areas of appropriate technology, education, and micro-enterprise.
  • To train others to be development workers.
  • To be good stewards of the environment.
To the volunteers, we promise:
  • To provide the opportunity to work hard, to learn, and to understand a unique culture.
To our supporters/contributors, we promise:
  • To operate a lean organization that puts their contributions to the best possible uses in accordance with our mission.
  • To maintain accountability and transparency with all project financing.
Our Beliefs
We believe every person has the responsibility to work towards ending poverty.
We believe in learning by doing and in leading by example.
We believe that successful community-development is driven by hard work at the grass roots level.
We believe that motivated individuals, with appropriate training, can learn to become leaders within their own communities.
We believe in being good stewards of the environment.
We believe that to break the cycle of poverty people need to know it exists.
Our Goals
  • LWH is a bridge for bringing expert technicians from different international organizations together with communities whose needs match their abilities.
  • To execute sustainable community development projects.
  • LWH wants to train others to be development workers, both the why and the how to work towards breaking the cycle of poverty.
  • Provide a base for other org to use our models (share successful models) as they are proven successful.
  • Break the cycle of poverty.

You can expect that the next blog posts will be about my work within the organization.