“This wasn’t where we thought we’d be”

Post by FH blogger Allison Vesterfelt

I’m struck by how similar I am to people who appear totally different from me; those who’s lifestyles seem foreign and locations seem far away.

{In case you missed it, this week I’m in Guatemala with a group of bloggers and an organization I love called, Food for the Hungry. For more details about why were here and what we’re doing, you can read my first post. You can also follow our group on Twitter and Facebook by searching #fhbloggers}

I haven’t always felt this way. In the past, when I’ve traveled to developing countries, I’ve been struck by how different I was from the people who I met there, how they way they lived life on a daily basis didn’t look anything like how I lived life. I’ve focused on their dirt floors and lack of running water or electricity, and the simplicity of “stuff” they had, and thought about my closet back home, packed to overflowing.

I’ve always come home feeling grateful for what I had, and maybe a little guilty for complaining about it, and newly inspired to share my resources.

But this time, something is different.

This time, instead of seeing how different I am from the people I’ve met since we’ve been in Guatemala, I can’t help but see how similar we all are. I don’t really see myself as “luckier” than them for having all the things I have (I’ve been giving them up anyway, and feel lighter without them). I do feel grateful, but its a different kind of gratitude.

I feel grateful for what I’ve shared with the community where I’ve been for the past 24 hours, grateful for what they’ve shared with me, and grateful for the time we’ve spent together.

Today Darrell and I had the opportunity to spend the afternoon and evening with Maria and Domingo, one of the couples in the community where Food for the Hungry works, and hear a little bit about how the organization had impacted them. The conversation started off pretty much the same as it would if we were meeting new friends at home (aside from the translator). We introduced ourselves, talked about the weather and sports and there were several awkward silences.
Allison Vesterfelt is an FH blogger who is a writer, managing editor of Prodigal Magazine and author of “Packing Light: Thoughts on Living Life with Less Baggage” (Moody, 2013). She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with her husband Darrell.

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