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My Journey to Guatemala With ISP

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Scranton chapter.

All my life I wondered how I would return to Guatemala. Would it be with my family, friends, future husband? I never thought the opportunity would be through performing service work with Campus Ministries International Service Program. After two life changing classes with Fr. Azar and Señor Parsons, I am the closest I’ve ever been to Christianity and the Hispanic community. I’ve been mentally preparing these past two semesters, on my own and with my wonderful group. We have been reflecting on the history of Guatemala, current events, and prayers. However, can I truly be prepared for such a social and cultural shock?

I will be in San Lucas Tolimán, Guatemala, for ten days working with the Friends of San Lucas Mission. Friends of San Lucas carry out the teachings of Fr. Greg Schaffer who passed away in 2012. They attend to the multidimensions of poverty and provide facets for people in hopes to alleviate it. According to the United Nations, 83 percent of Guatemalans live in extreme poverty. The Friends of San Lucas work to improve these poor conditions by giving access to education, healthcare, reforestation, and farm management. The area is surrounded by the beautiful Lake Atitlan and volcanos. It has a large population of the Mayans who speak their indigenous language Kakchiquel.

I am thankful for my life, being adopted, and receiving a Jesuit education. I accept that I am going through a mental and spiritual transformation. My goal is to just experience it and be present in Guatemala. I’m leaving behind any inadequacies and just taking my faith. Faith in myself, the process, and God. May 30th 2018 will be a huge milestone in my life. It is the first time I leave the United States to go back to where I was born.

For three years, I’ve seen the phrase “ en todo amar y servir” said by St. Ignatius of Loyola. Now, I finally will take action and carry it outside of Scranton, Pennsylvania. I am proud to be going on this service trip with an open heart and mind. Additionally, I am ready for all the smiles and the tears. 

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Dania El-Ghazal

Scranton '18

My whole biography realistically can't fit here so