Anisa Hasan-Granier is a rising junior at Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C. Though she has lived and travelled abroad extensively, Anisa said her hands-on experience with School the World in Guatemala was eye-opening
As we led the kids into the classrooms for the first time, I held my breath a little, wondering how they would react, what they would think of their new school. A few seconds later, I heard the screams of 90 some kids screaming and shouting, laughing, and smiling. Their shouts bounced off the walls of the rooms as they jumped up and down, and ran from the door to the windows, back to the center of the room, and then back to the windows grabbing my hands. Going to Guatemala with School the World was a truly a life-changing experience. It’s very hard to take little things like water or laundry for granted now that I know that there is a woman or a young girl in Guatemala walking huge distances carrying a bag of water so heavy I was barely able to lift it. It’s hard to take the food that magically appears in the aisles of a supermarket for granted when I know that families spend hours in the Guatemalan sun harvesting crops, or even take just a few dollars for granted when I know that a family had to pull their child out of school just to make that much money in order to survive. I think the most inspiring thing was that these kids were always smiling and laughing and had a huge drive to learn; their parents were open, warm, and welcoming. All of the members of the village welcomed us into their homes and gave us a brief window into their lives. The children invited us to play soccer with them, gave us their drawings, played and danced with us and greeted us with hugs and said goodbye with more hugs even after just one day spent together. I was incredibly touched by the fortitude and strength of the mothers in the community, as well as the generosity that I witnessed. Patronia, a mother in the village who I shadowed, did not have enough food to feed her family and yet offered us some of the blackberries that she was growing. These are just some of the many memories that I will carry with me.