The Guatemala Volcano Disaster and Play-Doh
It’s been a rough week. I’m not gonna lie. Though I generally love to blow sunshine up people’s asses I just don’t have it in me today. I’m exhausted, emotionally and physically.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that Volcano Fuego in Guatemala erupted violently on Sunday June 3rd killing just slightly over 100 people (last count), taking whole villages, and leaving hundreds still missing. It’s a sad sad time for Guatemala.
I live here. This has been my home for almost 3 years now. I’ve come to love everything about this quirky, beautiful and poor place, especially the people. When the volcano erupted and news of destruction came pouring in I cried and cried hard. For days.
Oh Dear God. Why? Please, stop. Why?
The people directly affected were poor. They had nothing. They worked so hard for what little they had and in a flash it was all taken away from them along with family members.
Why? Writing this I fight back more tears.
I have to help. Some way some how. This is why I came here in the first place. To help the poor people. They need help now more than ever. Can I do this? Can I actually help and maintain my composure in the midst of this horrific tragedy?
It was time to find out.
Off we go!
My other Canadian friend Cristel joined me on the 4 hour chicken bus ride to the nearest city which also happens to be where most of the volunteering is taking place. After a couple of hours of walking around in the heat on sidewalks covered in volcanic ash we find ourselves at a homeless shelter.
And my heart exploded.
Here is where they have housed many who have lost their homes. The grounds and the building are a buzz of activity. Donations piled up, mattresses lined the floor in the common area, volunteers everywhere and much to my surprise, everyone is smiling and laughing.
They are happy. They are happy to be safe, fed, clothed and watered.
Our duties are counting and sorting the donations, cleaning the kitchen and then playing with the kids. I am more than happy to do that. The kids. They warm my heart and I want to take them all home.
My Spanish sucks but we make conversation, we colour, we do mazes, create bizarre figures with Play-Doh. It’s such an amazing time. You forget why they are there. It’s like day camp.
My friend and I go off to get something to eat and she suggests we buy bubbles (you know those blowing wand thingies). Oh hell ya!
We return with bubbles and the kids are beyond ridiculously excited. My heart explodes again. So innocent. So beautiful. So full of life and totally oblivious to the shitstorm that just wiped out their village.
Take a moment
I never once in my wildest dreams thought that I would be in the middle of a disaster relief area helping with victims of such a horrific and tragic event. My whole world has changed. My mind is blown wide open and I will never be the same again. This I know.
I returned home exhausted, emotionally and physically and so very fucking grateful for everything I have. My roof, my water, my bed, my safety (though it’s really questionable these days), my health, my everything.
Please, please, every day when you wake up say thank you. Let that be the very first thing you say upon opening your eyes. Thank you. ❤
Peace and Love