Now, getting to Guatemala was a bit of a trek. From landing in Guatemala City, to then finding a bus that will take me to the town of Rio Dulce 7 hours away, to arriving at night in Rio Dulce, in hurricane rain, with all my gear and having to walk and find CG. I would be lying if I said I didn't have thoughts of regret or "what the heck am I doing here?", I definitely did, but when I arrived at CG, those thoughts never ever returned.
While staying there, I stayed in the hostel up the river from CG where all money earned at the hostel goes towards CG. Also, children that outgrow CG and want to move on, can live at the hostel and work in the Restaurant and/or do house keeping etc. to learn how to work and be independent. This is also where I learnt how to cuddle with cockroaches vs scream, they really liked me and my bed.
Every morning, I would board a fishing boat from the restaurant of the hostel, and head down the river to see the children. My first thoughts when I saw CG, were heartbreaking. All I saw were children who needed help and a facility that needed money and staff that live in very very basic living conditions and all I could think of is "how can I do something to help" (I still want to figure out how to do more, ideas welcomed).
Over the 9 days of being there, there were certain children who really tugged at my heart strings, you can tell by my photos who they are as they were always at my side and appear regularly in my photos. I will never forget them. The way they would grab you and hold onto you all day, or how they would want to see themselves on my camera screen, listen to music on my phone, or even just sit on my lap and let me hold them, or ask to do my hair, it was amazing and made my heart melt.
A project like this is obviously known to change your outlook on things, but this trip did more then that. Seeing how little the children have, or the family the children don't get to see(or families they don't have), or the meals they are happy to eat, they still always had smiles on their faces and always brought one to mine.
Another major part of this journey that deserves a mention, is the incredible volunteer staff I met and got to work with. Kelly, Gillian, Rosa, Natalie, Sara, Mary... you ladies are incredible. How you are there for the children when they need you, how you spent every aching second with them, made them laugh, were there when they cried, always coming up with fun things to help them learn, helping them to learn things like English and basic hygiene, you ladies were the family and support those children needed and you are wonderful people for sharing your time with them.Also, thank you for taking me under your wings and making sure I was okay, included me in activities, for an awesome last night together with great food and drinks and for helping me to plan my trip to Antigua before heading home!