Freshman finds that beauty lies in poverty in Guatemala

Callan. Posting this to use with her guest blog.This guest post is brought to you by Callan Gaines, a sophomore at Winthrop University and one of seven students who traveled with Kelly Campbell of the Village Experience and me to Guatemala. She’s an artist studying interior design and has a laugh that can be heard over the zip of a zip line.

Her post reminds me of something designer Bibi Russell told me in Bangladesh: “Beauty lies in poverty.”

When traveling abroad, it is awesome how much you can learn about yourself and this incredible world we have.

My first trip abroad was to the beautiful Latin American country of Guatemala. Things here are vastly different from the United States. I knew that Guatemala would have much more poverty, but it all became so real when I got the opportunity to see it in person. Yet, the poverty of Guatemala is one aspect that can actually added to its beauty.

With poverty comes a sense of humility and gratitude which is rarely found in my own home country. While the people have far less than most Americans, they are much more selfless with the little things they have. When we visited the rural village of Ceylan, there was an amazing feeling of community. The incredible power of a smile or hug was so evident in this impoverished village, despite the fact I couldn’t speak the language of the Ceylan people.

It was an experience which I know has changed my life.

While it is tempting to be overwhelmed by the world’s poverty and countless issues, it is important to realize we all have the opportunity to help others. No single person can reverse world poverty, but we all can influence those around us in positive ways. Traveling abroad is certainly a great way to begin.

Callan Gaines is a sophomore Interior Design major at Winthrop University in South Carolina. (link to facebook)

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