My Experience at Guatemala
My experience serving the needy people of Guatemala was an amazing one. There were many blessings I received on this mission trip and I feel that I have changed into a better person because of it. It has broadened my view of the world and has taught me to become a more compassionate person towards the less fortunate. I was able to see Dr. Kim's vision of spreading love around the world and am now inspired to grow up to become a person who not only serves his own community but also those around globally. When I first arrived at Guatemala, I was excited to work. I was motivated by the idea that I was helping people who really needed it. I was expecting the everything to be very fast paced and was ready. My first job was to evaluate the people's eyesight by using a snellen chart. While doing so, I ran into some problems because of the language barrier. I ended up learning how to say "read the letters" in Spanish and got better and better at my job. Just when I got comfortable with it however, I was sent to do a different task.
I was told to use the ARK scanning machine to check the people's eyesight and so I did. It was very difficult the first few times but after a while, I got the hang of it. I remember the job being extremely repetitive but it was not boring at all. I was constantly worked because there were so many people who came into our clinic. For eight hours every day I scanned people's eyes with only a short lunch break but it was not bad at all. I was assigned a translator to help me with my work and eventually got to know him better. I was entertained while doing my job as well because I had my friend Scott next to me the whole time dilating people's eyes for their checkup.
While scanning people's eyes, I was able to make small conversations with the very little Spanish I knew. One lady even taught me how to say the word "chin" in Spanish because I was using sign language when my translator was gone and needed people to put their chins on the machine. The people were very kind and good hearted. I was amazed to see how positive they were even though they did not have much. It opened my eyes into seeing how I should stay positive as well and not get worked up over things that are unimportant.
I also got to meet the volunteers aiding us that lived there. It was interesting to meet fellow Koreans who lived in Guatemala because they spoke not only Korean and English at the same time, but Spanish as well! The volunteers there were very fun to talk to and were all charismatic people. I am glad that I became friends with them and still keep in touch through social media. I believe that the friendships I made with the volunteers from not only Guatemala, but Los Angeles and Washington as well are huge blessings that I received on this mission trip. I enjoyed their company very much and I believe that they feel the same way.
When I first arrived at Guatemala, I was expecting nothing more than helping the people there and finding joy in that. But after my experience, I realized that I received much more than the pleasure of helping people. I was able to expand my knowledge of the world, develop into a more mature and thoughtful person, and make valuable friendships that I will cherish forever. I hope to go back there next year and for years to come and have an even more blessed experience every time I visit.