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The Children of Guatemala

Buenos Dias,

It’s just before 7 and I am sat in the lounge of a nice hotel on the Caribbean Coast, our base for 2 nights.

It seems like we have been here for ages, but really it has only been 2 days. We have seen and experienced so many things in these few days.

Yesterday, we spent all day visiting Plan’s BGL sponsored facilities. A child friendly space at a clinic, a new school building and a mother and baby group. These experiences are humbling and emotionally charged, hearing of children and mothers walking 2 miles to clinic or school, (walking a few yards in this heat and humidity was enough to make even an English lady perspire!) and children now being just the 1st generation to finish school.

At the school I was chaperoned by my new best friend. She held my hand as we walked up the steep dusty slope to her school. I wish I could speak Spanish as there was so much I wanted to ask her, all I could do was to nod and smile. She followed me everywhere; looking at the pictures I had taken of her and the different band of friends that she brought with her each time to meet the crazy lady with no hair.

The importance of educating girls is so clearly evident in a place like Guatemala. We take our education and health system for granted and spend so much time complaining about it, but it has given us so many chances to live out our dreams and aspiration – something Guatemalans and particularly girls don’t have the chance to do.

Our guide explains that Guatemala is not starving, but access to good education and health facilities are not great. Children are poorly fed, with no variety to their diet, in a country which exports fruit and vegetables to the western table is a travesty.

Oh, seen a Mayan city too!

Alison is travelling as part of group in conjunction with Plan UK and Plan Guatemala – charitable organisations helping build community projects with a focus on education. Watch this space for more details of Alison’s journey through Guatemala.