Culture Shock & Gratification

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Manna Project International

Culture shock: noun. The feeling of disorientation experienced by someone who is suddenly subjected to an unfamiliar culture, way of life, or set of attitudes.
A feeling I came to know well last week, and I would think that my fellow vols would agree to having felt this as well. The cultural differences in Guatemala were very apparent to us upon arrival to Sololá. However, I think my fellow vols would also agree that the humbling feelings that overcome us after bettering the community of Chaquijyá couldn’t be overshadowed by some silly feeling of disorientation. We are one week in and nothing is stopping us at this point!
Our classes vary, but the sense of fulfillment at the end of the day is the same. To me, even the simplest things matter. Whether it is a child drawing a robot house for art class because we encouraged imagination, a woman remembering how to turn on and off a computer, or a student learning how to correctly answer “What am I doing?” in English, the feeling of accomplishment is more than I could have imagined. I knew coming in to this that I would be helping teach different classes, but the gratification that would come with it was not something I prepared for. In addition to working in the community, my time spent outside of Chaquijyá has been just as incredible.
-Kathryn

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