By Harshiya Thevarajan, Outreach Trip Participant, Ciudad Vieja, Guatemala, May 2016
After volunteering in Guatemala for 2 weeks, the next couple of weeks in Canada were pretty tough. These are some of the things that I learned when I came back from my SOS trip.
A SOS trip will make it feel foreign to wake up to an absence of warm hugs from the sun peaking through the volcanic landscapes, the blankets of vegetation or the echoes of wild honking from a scurrying Chicken bus. A SOS trip will make you want to convince the kids on their iPads that playing jump with a bottle attached to a string is far more of an adrenaline rush than Candy Crush. This trip will show you how people of a different country and language will welcome you like you are their own. When you walk past a construction worker you will remember the 100 cm hole that you proudly dug or laughs you had with the Guatemalan construction workers as they tried to understand what you were saying in broken Spanish. This trip will show you that age is nothing but a number when it comes to running your own business so that you can contribute to your family. You will be astonished by the value, dedication and discipline that students hold in respects for their education. You will witness an abundance of the brightest of smiles with just a stroll down the street. This SOS trip will teach you the comfort in saying “hola” to complete strangers on the streets. You will learn that innovation doesn’t need high tech machines or expensive gadgets but just a couple pieces of lumber and some sturdy nails. When you’re back from your SOS trip you will catch yourself translating road signs in Spanish or saying “si” instead of “yes” after confirming your food order. A SOS trip will make the 11 strangers you met at the airport into family whom you will truly miss each and everyday. A SOS trip will teach you to give and give some more without expecting anything in return. This trip will not only teach you about the unfamiliar environment but also reveal cherishing hidden talents, skills and characteristics that you will discover about yourself.
After your SOS trip you will gain an abundance of gratitude, knowledge, laughter, inspiration, relationships, the differences you have made in people’s lives and the life long experiences that will follow you through day to day.
I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to go on an Outreach trip. Thank you SOS for all your hard work and for giving students the opportunity to put words into experiences that we will hold on for a lifetime.
Get out of your comfort zone. Make a difference. Be Inspired. Inspire others. And live the adventure.