Northwest NEWS

May 29, 2000


The challenge is set

   As we opened the large black metal doors to the school where we would soon be doing our drama, all the little kids at the school immediately swarmed us from all sides.

   We looked down to say "Hola," and saw dirt all over these poor kids. You could actually see the lice crawling all over their precious heads. Our hearts were filled with love and compassion for them, and without a single thought for ourselves, we picked up, hugged, and kissed every kid we could get to.

   Right then, I knew that life in Guatemala was very different from the life we live in America. The people of Guatemala live very hard, yet simple lives. They are very poor and have very little.

   Going to Guatemala and seeing how the people there live is a very humbling experience. It is an awesome place and I wish the people of America could see how selfish, greedy, and cold we can really be. It is a hard life to live, but it is very touching to see how people can make it with a smile on their face. I know my life will never be the same again.

   This February, I got the chance to go to Guatemala. My group and I spent two weeks repairing schools, painting, giving medical care, and getting to know the children of Guatemala.

   Guatemala is one of the largest countries in Central America. It has a population of over 11 million people. Guatemala has one of the most serious levels of poverty in the world--in 1996, it was almost 80%.

   Poverty is a very real problem, not just in Guatemala, but in the whole world. In the U.S. alone from 1979-1993, the number of children under six grew from 3.5 million to 6.4 million. In 1997, 22% of children under six were in poverty. The only way to decrease these numbers is to get educated, to educate, and to have it be important to you.

   For more information on poverty and how you can help, call World Concern, (800) 755-5022, or go to a library near you. Poverty will not disappear overnight, but if we work together, we can start changing lives together. The challenge is set--what will you do?

Anya Lewis, Bothell