This Lovely Thing—4 March

By Caitlyn

Waking up to a smoking volcano is an unusual site for a U.S. citizen; it was not an occurrence that was worrying or scary but more a part of this lovely thing called life.
As the group and I pull up to Parque Hawaii I could smell the salt and I could hear the roar of the ocean as the waves hit the water and raced up the sand.
Parque Hawaii fits the sustainability triangle because it is environmental friendly: taking in animals, reusing bottles and filling them with trash to build a library for a school. Also it helps the locals—the social and economic points of the triangle—by allowing them to help clean the beach, the group of volunteers at Parque Hawaii help at the schools to educate students about environmental impacts and teach English. If people cannot take care of or do not want their pets anymore they have a place to bring them for free.
What I will take away from today’s adventure is the ability to be happy. The volunteers that were there today are from Denmark and they think the place’s luxury is the silence—no cars, just the ocean and the animals. Breaking away from a materialistic view on life and more of an experience view on life is my goal, personally and thus far it has worked for the people at Parque Hawaii. The sense of community reminded me of Christchurch because many different people from different parts of the world take care of each other and create bonds that will last.
During the last week I learned a lot about Guatemala, the people, and even myself. I learned that I take lots of things for granted in the United States, and most of the things I take for granted are little things: complaining about having a heavy book bag while women in Guatemala are carrying one or two babies with a basket on their head and no shoes—walking for many of kilometers I am sure. Also that I can push one button on the Keurig at home to make a cup of coffee and not think about all of the labor that goes into me being able to do that—all of the these things seem so little to us but are bigger and more intensive in other countries such as Guatemala.
Last night we had a discussion about developing countries versus developed countries and economics—everything we, the United States and other “developed countries”, do affects the “developing countries” a ton. I put the words developed and developing in scare quotes simply for your own interpretation of those words. If Guatemala stopped producing coffee then Starbucks would fall and have to find another supplier and vise versa. Another thing that I personally feel is some Americans take the government for granted, but in Guatemala the government is corrupt and the socioeconomic conditions in Guatemala lack a middle class; either someone is poor or rich. The comparison between the two governments add up: the state not taking care of roads, no health care for the poor, no enforcement of education, and the standards of living is down unless you are rich.
Everything has a purpose and each person might have a harder or easier life but none of us would trade our own problems for another person’s problems. The sustainability triangle, in my opinion, is not just for business purposes but also for Human Health, Happiness, and that all equals Life. Taking care of Semuc Champey, the turtles in El Hawaii, natural growth of coffee plants, they all hit on the social, economical, and environmental points, as you can read in the other blogs posted during the week in Guatemala.
This lovely country is filled with hopeful people, and I admire the citizens of Guatemala for having so much hope, which I would like to mimic for myself in hopes for my country.
The definition of good or happy is different for everyone: some think more minimalistic and some materialistic. Both of these ideas are correct and one is not better then the other. I just hope one day we can all find our own inner peace.

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