A group of students from Steinbach Christian School (SCS) recently went on a trip to Guatemala as SCS is a sponsor school with ChildCare International. 

High school students Malachi Goertzen, Sophia Barkman, Sonia Doerksen and the rest of the crew were welcomed back home to Steinbach a week ago. 

Goertzen says the main purpose of visiting Guatemala was to connect with the students that SCS helps. 

“We don't know them, they don't really know us, we're just sending them funds. But we really want to get to know them, we're out there to build relationships with them, show them who we are, and give them a chance to show us who they are.” 

Barkman says the first thing she noticed was how grateful the kids were. 

“They were really smiley. We got lots of hugs, like 200 hugs a day definitely. It's humbling when you go there and they're all like, ‘thank you, thank you!’” 

Doerksen says their culture is really different from ours. She noticed they use a lot more bright colours. 

“Everything is super colorful there, their clothing that they wear, things that they use, a lot of it just has a lot more colors.” 

She notes it’s amazing to see people with less be happier than those with more. 

“And seeing the spiritual joy that they have there. They might be in poverty material-wise, but if they have Christ, they're so joyful, and that was so cool to see.” 

Goertzen says one of the places they visited was a construction site for a new school where they played soccer. 

“One of the old schools we visited that we're sponsoring is quite cramped, so we were at a new site and lots of the kids from the school came over to play soccer with us in what was pretty much a barren field,” he says. “We had a few rebar posts sticking out of the ground. The construction workers came over and joined us and played some soccer with the kids and had some really good times.” 

Barkman says she enjoyed talking to the kids and telling them about her life. 

And one of the big things is that you just see this sea of brown eyes, and all these kids come running to you and they're all looking up at you with these big eyes. And there's so many hugs.” 

They also were able to visit different homes in the community. 

She says it was shocking to see how such big families live in such small homes. 

“I haven't even fully processed it because now I'm back here and it's worlds apart, it's just so different.” 

Doerksen says they quickly made connections with the kids, and it was encouraging to see. 

“At the first school we visited a couple of the girls ran up to me and they gave me some cut-out paper hearts that say, 'I love you’ and it has their name on them, and they just gave me huge hugs and they're so sweet.” 

If you are thinking of going to another country to experience their culture, Barkman highly recommends going. 

“I think it's so good for us to see other people and how they live, it opens your eyes. It's something that I think everyone should experience.” 

Goertzen adds that the food in Guatemala was delicious, especially the fruit. 

“It gives you perspective when all your fruit comes in on a truck from 3000 miles away, how fresh it is before it gets on that truck.” 


With files from Corny Rempel