A New Adventure

Caitlin - English Montessori Teacher
November 6, 2018 - Guatemala

Caitlin Carey, a year-long volunteer working as an English teacher at the Montessori school.

Caitlin Carey is a 23-year-old international volunteer from California, USA. She works as an English teacher in the Montessori program, and shares about the colorful experiences seeing the many sides of Guatemala.

As of today, I have been living in Guatemala for ninety days. First of all, I cannot believe it has already been NINETY DAYS – the time has absolutely flown by. Second of all, I cannot begin to explain how blessed I feel to be living in such a beautiful country within a truly beautiful community at NPH Guatemala.

Guatemala has proven to be a country full of rich culture and incredible experiences. My favorite experience, without a doubt, has been the camioneta (the local “chicken bus”) along with the culture of selflessness, which oddly enough end up going hand in hand.

The camioneta is unlike any American transportation I have ever seen. First off, every bus is elaborately painted in bright colors and striking patterns. This quality alone has been extremely helpful in remembering which bus will take me where I need to go.

The camionetas are always filled with a wide variety of people– Guatemalan woman in their exquisite cultural clothing carrying different types of fruits and vegetables, large and small families, and even your occasional gringo!

While I could go on and on with many fascinating and funny stories regarding the camionetas, to me the most wonderful part is the attitude of the Guatemalan people.

Normally, the camionetas are packed. When I say packed, I’m not just saying every seat is filled, I’m saying every seat is holding three adults and sometimes a child or two as well. Just because all the seats are holding a minimum of three people, does not mean the bus is full! People start filling the center aisle, squeezing in one by one, packed like sardines.

Usually, there is no space to maneuver whatsoever. But this is what is so fascinating to me: just when you think it is physically impossible to squeeze another human being on the bus, another person jumps on. To me, this says something so beautiful about the Guatemalan culture. There is always room. It doesn’t matter who the person is, where they came from, or where they are going; if they are waiting at a bus stop or on the corner of a street, people will make room for them. After numerous rides on the camioneta, I have not once witnessed an eye roll, a mumble, or a scuff over smooshing a little closer together for a stranger to hop on the bus.

Coming from a country where people are always in a hurry to go nowhere, this proved to me how selfless and kind the people are here in Guatemala. I feel incredibly lucky to be in this country and experience this same kind of love from the children and people of NPH Guatemala.

Caitlin Carey   
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