Personal Testimonial from Samantha on her trip to Guatemala with TVE!

Traveling with The Village Experience to Guatemala was a life-altering adventure, to say the least. First, TVE provided us with all the exciting elements of a vacation–new and exciting foods, fun activities, and even two day-trips to other regions in Guatemala. But what’s specific to and special about TVE is of course the service aspect of their trips. Our group of women worked in the outskirts of Antigua, Guatemala in a small village called Zapote. Though I’ve been home for almost one week now, I’m still processing the mental images that are surely forever burned into my memory.

My trip with TVE changed many things about the way I look at the world. For example, after seeing the way most of the world lives, I will never again have the ignorant pleasure of accepting Western/American culture as globally normative. I will also never again turn on a sink or flush a toilet without thinking of the people of Zapote and other villages around the world who daily fetch water that is often littered with pollutants and too soiled to drink without an expensive filter. Most importantly, after fully understanding my capacity to serve and my potential as a passionate human being, I will never see another future for myself that is as rewarding or fulfilling as international service work. For this reason, I plan to spend this summer backpacking through and volunteering in Central America.

I will always be a proponent of international travel; however, when coupled with service work, the benefits a traveler can gain multiply exponentially. I hope that anyone presented with the opportunity to travel with TVE wouldn’t make the mistake of turning the opportunity away, because the benefits of my experience were surely worth more than twice the cost of the trip.