Seed of Hope
From April 20-28, 2014 a group of 16 Flaman staff/family and friends traveled to Guatemala where they helped dig ditches and build buildings for a village that the Frank Flaman Foundation has been working in for 8 years. Lorna Mutch is an employee at our Nisku store and she wanted to tell everyone about her amazing experience.
“Seed of Hope”
I had the opportunity and honor to go to Guatemala and was able to see, first hand, how a part of the money raised for charity by the foundation helps the people who truly need it.
We stayed in a town called Panajachel. It had the most breathtaking view of the lake and the surrounding area. It was like looking at the blue green water, and as your eyes followed the water, it seemed like it took a path in between two volcanoes and kept right on going. It was so peaceful and relaxing to look at.
We took a boat over to Santiago and from there, worked our way to the village of Tzutijil where we would begin our adventure of working with the villagers and children. The boat ride was about 45 minutes and during this time, we went right between the two volcanoes. The sights of the small towns sitting on the edge of the lake to the houses nestled in the trees, the clear skies with the clouds so close you felt you could reach out and touch them made the boat journey seem faster than 45 min. It’s such a beautiful country; peaceful and calming.
When we got to the village, the people were so happy to see us and greeted us with much enthusiasm. I honestly have never in my lifetime seen such happy and friendly people. They made us feel like we were right at home and not so far away. The children were one of my most cherished memories. Even though they did not know us, and it was plain to see they did not have much in the way of material value, they were curious and funny. One little boy was very playful and played a joke on someone. It was very cute and even though there was a language barrier, he managed to make us laugh and it was a highlight of the day. It was amazing to see the looks on their faces as we encouraged them to read to us (which one little boy did in English). You could see the eagerness in their innocent faces as they showed us what they had learned. This was the building (school), which had been built in the past few years thanks in part to the foundation.
We worked for three days. It was hard work. We dug ditches so they could lay the foundation for the expansion of the building already there. The things we take for granted is just a part of their everyday living and I cannot imagine using the tools and resources in our country. We hand dug trenches 1-meter deep using shovels and garden hoes. I used the hoe mostly and can tell you it was definitely a challenge to keep the dirt on it. We mixed ingredients in a big trough by hand to make cement and then carried it in 5-gallon pails to pour. We built a stove by hand made out of brick and cement, which took 2 days. We made the cement on the ground. The common everyday things we use, they could never afford. It was the most gratifying and humbling experiences I have ever known. I would do it again in a heartbeat.
The adults and children would gather around to watch us. We had taken a few trinkets with us to give to them that cost us very little. The excitement was so evident on their faces. It was like watching children at Christmas opening their presents. We learned about the history of the town as well. This is just a small insight to what the trip was all about.
We met a man who grew up on the mountain and was trying to raise a family. His children have no education, not shoes-nothing. He told a story about someone who gave him the “Seed of Hope” and how it changed his life. When he told the story, I know that we, as part of the foundation, were giving these people a “Seed of Hope” as well as with all the hard work, dedication and help from each and every one of us that in the years to come, the seed that was planted, and all who contributed to the “Seed of Hope” will keep on growing.
This was a trip to cherish for a lifetime and if any of you have a chance; it is worth a million just for the experience and knowledge gained by doing so.