Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Come together, right now.... Over me!

Hello friends and family ♥

Why the Beatles reference?: Honestly, why not? No but really - Starting this blog brings together a bunch of different people that all happen to have ME in common. How cool is that? I am actually really excited to finally have a reason to start a blog (I have always wanted to do this). But more importantly I am excited to announce that I only have 4 full days left in the U.S. before I leave for Guatemala City!

Before I go any further I have something you all need to know: I know this sounds cliche but - My parents are freaking awesome. Without them this trip would not be possible. I hope they are aware of how much this trip truly means to me, and also how much their support does too. 

How this trip came about: Throughout my last semester in college I began looking in to volunteer programs abroad. I had no idea what I was getting myself into and had no specific destination in mind (or if I would even be fortunate enough to actually do it). Once I decided to mention the idea to my parents it was almost as a side note. Basically just throwin' it out there. It went a little something like this .... "heyyyy so I was "randomly" looking into volunteer programs out of the country, it seems like those people have a pretty cool experience....." to my surprise they both agreed and told me I should consider it! Next thing I knew I would find myself searching for programs constantly... even instead of doing my homework. No worries, I still graduated.

The NEXT best part of this whole experience is that my best friend from college is joining me! That was another situation where I went out on a ledge and said "heyyyyy Lili... wouldn't it be so much fun if we volunteered abroad together??" assuming she would obviously agree but have to politely turn me down. Once again I was blown away when not only did she agree, but if she could gather the money in time she was 100% down! This is when I knew I was really getting myself into a life changing, unforgettable experience. We are pretty much anything but boring when we are together... and that's a fact.

So: Parent's Approval ☑ Best Friend Travel Buddy ☑ 

When it all begins: We fly into Guatemala City, Guatemala on Saturday, March 3rd. Lili and I are on the same flight as the other girl (Natalie from New York) that is arriving the same day as us, which is pretty cool. I'm not exactly sure how many people we will be living with but I will update you on that once I know more. We will be volunteering Monday-Friday for 5 weeks. We get the evenings and every weekend as free time. Knowing us we will be taking full advantage of free time and will constantly be on-the-go!

What I'll be doing: Today I received my Job Placement for the entire five weeks. I will be working at Unidad De Ninos Quemados – Child Care. It is the pediatric burn unit located in the hospital. It was started in 2007 for those mothers and children who have been affected by severe burn. The aim of the unit is to have a place for trained individuals to offer therapy for children under 14 who have been severely burnt, and allow for their mothers and families to be there with them. My job as a volunteer will provide stimulation and attention to the children, who are unable to leave the unit. These children do not have the opportunity to be in school and live a normal life, so volunteers offer activities to help engage them, and offer some normalcy. The volunteers also offer stimulation and engagement for the mothers who sit with their children all day with no outside contact. I will be able to provide relaxation to the mothers while their children play, and also offer activities for the mothers to participate in as well.

To be quite honest I was very overwhelmed when I first heard the news. I had requested not to work in a hospital so this was a complete surprise, plus we hadn't heard anything about this job placement prior to the email I got today. BUT! The more I have thought about it (and after various pep-talks from some of my favorite mentors and friends), the more I have realized how extremely lucky I am to be able to be apart of these families lives as a smiling face and positive attitude through these difficult times. Needless to say .... I am super excited!! And I can't wait to tell you all about it.

What's coming next: I would promise you everything that is to come, but I have no idea when I will actually have time to post so I'll just let that be a surprise. Possibilities are: update posts, pictures, and the occasional video with me and Lili! 

Miss me already?: If you need to contact me while I am abroad you can Facebook, email (abbeyhartgrove@gmail.com) or Skype (abbey.hartgrove) me.... or of course comment on this blog (guatemalawithabbey.blogspot.com).

Wish us luck "See ya" on Sunday!