During the summer before my freshman year in high school, I went on a mission trip with my mom, bother, and a few members of my church to Panajachel, Guatemala. We traveled down there to help an organization called Mission Guatemala. Since 2009, Mission Guatemala has been helping the locals in Panajachel meet basic standards of living.
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While I was there, I went to the markets with my group. Immediately as we walked into the market, we were swarmed by vendors trying to sell us their product. My mom who accompanied me on the trip particularly enjoyed interacting with the local vendors. The local vendors asked my mom, “What is your name?” She eagerly replied,
“Wendy, my name is Wendy.” The vendors began to badger my mother with the various products they were selling.
“Wendy! Wendy! You must buy my hand crafted dolls! They are ten dollars!” My mom began looking at all the products the vendors had to offer, and pretty soon we had three vendors trying to sells us multiple products. This went on all the way to the restaurant we were supposed to meet at for out lunch. Luckily, the vendors were not allowed to come into the restaurant with us. As we were eating, our guide gave us some tips on what not to do while shopping in the markets. The first thing he told us not to do was to tell the vendors our name. He said that if we told them our name, they would never leave us alone. At this, I look over at my mom and whispered,
“You already broke the very first rule.” She grinned at me and continued to listen to the rest of what our guide had to say. The second tip was to never buy something at the original asking price because the vendors purposely set the price too high expecting you to haggle over the price. He also said that if you are being pestered by a vendor, tell them very directly that you are not interested in their product. He continues talking while we eat. We finished eating and left the restaurant about forty minutes later. The very first thing we see are the same vendors waiting outside of the restaurant; when they see my mom, they immediately run to her and begin giving her the same sales pitch they gave her forty minutes ago,
“Wendy! Wendy! You must buy my hand crafted dolls! They are ten dollars!” My mom takes the advice that our guide told us, and she tells the vendors that she does not want to buy what they are selling. After a few minutes of telling the vendors that we do not want to buy the products, they finally leave to go find another tourist to sell their products to.
I had enjoyed the time I spent at the markets, but the experience I value most from this trip was when we were helping a family that lived in a small hut located in a corn field. My group went to this hut to install a concrete stove so that they wouldn’t have to cook over a fire. When we were finished, the family we had helped gave each person a roll of bread and some cola. This family had barely enough money to support themselves, but they walked all the way to a bakery and bought the bread and cola. This made me realize that I should be grateful for all of my blessings no matter how trivial they might seem, and I should never stop showing God’s love to others.
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