There are not enough words that can truly express what this trip meant to me. As I look back on the trip and think about all my experiences, there is one thing that I truly, within my heart of hearts, think is important to share with everyone. I grew up in a God-fearing family. My mother insisted that we went to church every Sunday and participated in Sunday school, but somewhere along the lines I questioned my faith.
As a very quiet and shy girl growing up, I was quite the observer. As I grew older I began to notice that there was one thing that did not make sense to me: those who were poor, those who came from the inner cities, who were considered “a danger to society” based on where they lived, and those who were looked down upon.
The amount of times I was told, “Why are you in that community, do you know the type of people that live there?” “What are you doing with the likes of those people?” “You should be careful with who you are seen with.” I would always respond saying they were my friends and then be reprimanded. How is it that they could walk around preaching God’s word but then turn their backs and shun their very own? It did not make sense. As a result, I physically abandoned the church but continued to have faith in the Lord.
This trip to Guatemala instilled in me that there is good in the world; that there are people out there who are willing to help one another; that there are people who do not judge someone based on where they live or how much money they have, but instead, will help them in any way that they can.
I will admit, I did not know the depth of the water crisis before working with Living Water International. I will also admit that I really did not know what I would be doing whilst on this trip, but I did not care. What mattered to me was that the community of Champerico represented those people in Jamaica who were considered ‘less.’
So what if I couldn’t drink the water and couldn’t flush toilet paper? So what if I had to work in 95+ degree weather? I had the opportunity to work with a group of individuals who would change the lives of the people of Champerico. I had the opportunity to help bring safe water to prevent more illnesses in so many children. I had the opportunity to help bring safe water to allow Champerico to be more self-sufficient by growing their own fruits and vegetables and raising animals for food. I had the opportunity to laugh and play with the children. I had the opportunity to meet Fernando, his brothers Isaac and Carlos, his mama, and his abuelita. I remain shocked and humbled to this day to have been able to work with a group of amazing people to build a well in four days!
So when everyone asks me how my trip was, I respond that it was amazing, but really, there are no words that can describe my experience.
I hope God’s richest blessings touch all those who work for and with Living Water International. You all show your selflessness, your love, your commitment to God’s word and mission, and through your work, you allow others to easily and willingly work with you for the better good.
Written By: Dee Fraser, Charity By Design Manager of Operations and Partnerships