“Cii,” said a Guatemalan lady, while just behind her a mariachi band played and her boyfriend kneeled on one knee crying tears of joy. A group of us stood on the other side of the street cheering, as we had just witnessed a marriage proposal. The next day while walking through the town we heard a similar mariachi band. The seven of us instantly began dancing until our group leader, Teresa, said that the mariachi band was there for a funeral. This funeral was for an eleven-year-old girl who had committed suicide because she could no longer cope with the domestic violence she faced at home. This was the first time I cried during my volunteer trip to Guatemala. In Guatemala, mariachi bands are not only used for celebratory events, but also during times of grief. This volunteer trip was organized through DWC, a non-profit organization that connects volunteers to communities in developing nations. Our group worked with Open Windows, a foundation that runs a children’s learning center in San Miguel Duenas. We built a room for a family of six and taught English to elementary school students. This valuable experience taught me many things including cultural diversity and that I can make a difference in the everyday lives of those less fortunate. It also taught me about suffering, especially domestic violence, an issue we often ignore as a society and it ignited my passion for addressing social issues.
Developing World Connections does an incredible job of organizing meaningful trips & the trip coordinator, Thomas, is amazing & always available to answer any of your questions! Volunteering through DWC has been so life changing! It is not only a great opportunity to make meaningful friendships with those that are part of your team, but also gives you a chance to put your life into perspective & understand the significance of connecting with those that have a different background from yourself. Being of service puts one in touch with the needs of humanity and helps one understand that changing the world is a community effort. If you are interested in developing connections & doing meaningful & life-changing work, I highly recommend going on a DWC volunteer trip!