- Posted by Courtney Quigley
- On September 1, 2016
- 0 Comments
Sweat dripped down my brow and snaked down my back as I scampered down the alleyway, careful not to trip on an upturned rock. The sun scorched the top of my head but I paid no mind to it as I focused on the task at hand, beating these kids at soccer. I flashed a hard earned smile towards my brother before quickly kicking the ball his way. Rejected! Axel, one of the older boys, intercepted my pass and swiftly dribbled the ball away from us. He shot it past two trashcans and the ball slammed into the wall of a house shaking its tin core. I grimaced and hoped that the neighbors wouldn’t be too upset but the grins on the children’s faces were beautiful and wide as they excitedly shouted, “Goal!”
Matthew, a youthful, bright-eyed boy, threw himself into my arms and I swung him around in a shaky circle. He did this every time they scored and had also done it immediately upon meeting me. His instantaneous intimacy felt shocking at first but warmed my heart as time went by. Matthew rapidly became one of my favorites. “Alright,” I shouted, winking at Matthew and ruffled his hair. “One more time!”
The boys scattered into positions and we went at it again and again. We felt dehydrated and tired but we barely noticed it because of all of the fun we had. We laughed full-heartedly not caring who heard us. My brother and I didn’t notice how much time had passed until one of the other volunteers arrived to retrieve us. When we went to say goodbye to the kids the laughter died and the smiles disappeared as if they were never there in the first place. My throat tightened upon seeing the disappointment on their faces. I pulled Matthew into one last, tight hug but his face was guarded as though I deeply hurt him. I was at a loss as we slunk down the alleyway to the rest of our group leaving the children.
Later that day, we returned to the hotel and I kept thinking about that look on their faces and how I could make it go away. But what could I do? I didn’t even know if I would ever see them again. I came to the arrant realization that you can’t help everyone. However, by joining groups like Hope’s In and working hard you can better the community and help those in it which is why I plan on returning next year. This trip has touched me deeply and I hope that the memories and understanding that I developed in Guatemala will stay with me forever. I am truly grateful for everything Hope’s In has given me.