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  • Life-Changing Travel Contest: Christy Villegas

    It was the day after Christmas, my younger sister and I flew to Guatemala to visit each of our sponsored children. To actually meet the child you have been writing and giving money to live off of for years makes a person nervous and terribly excited. We pulled up to a clearing in the forest near San Lucas Toliman and the children bombarded us with 100+ smiling faces, hugs, kissing and sticky hands. We were ushered to a circle and then greeted by the children’s parents…….they were giving thanks to God in their Mayan language for us being brought into their lives. The unrecognizable Mayan chant was whispered up into the heavens, hands were raised to the sky and tears pooled at the corner of my eyes.

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    24 Responses

    1. Christy says:

      Knight – Thanks! I think that’s one of the best responses I’ve ever had from someone about my travels. Means alot. To me it’s more meaningful to travel in this way. AND those memories last a lifetime.

      // – Good to hear others have had the same experience! I think more people in this world should. Maybe it wouldn’t be so filled with hate. It’s def. something I think everyone should do at least once in their lives.

    2. \\'at says:

      I have seen those similar smiling faces and understand. It’s one thing to open your wallet, it’s another to open your heart and mind. Seeing first hand what your contribution brings to these kids is not only priceless but inspiring.

    3. Knight says:

      Some people travel to distant land to enjoy a much needed break away from the demands of work, to “reboot” and refresh themselves in the hope of finding solace and self-discovery. You, on the other hand, travel to connect and to humanize the bond that you’ve established over the years so those less fortunate folks could have a peace of mind. You could have gone shopping & dining in London, Paris, or Tokyo…but you instead travel to give Hugs and Hope to those who need them most.

      So I HOPE (to pass on an old Irish saying), “I hope that Misery and Misfortune follow you for the rest of your Life…..and never catch up.” May you always have more of these inspirational journeys. I’ve never met you but if we should meet along the way, you and your sister will be getting a HUGE HUG as if we’re old friends from centuries passed! Safe travel always!

    4. Christy V says:

      Aubrey – Thanks! It’s a great feeling knowing they invite us to be a part of their family. You should come on one of our trips with us! 😉

    5. Aubrey says:

      What a great story about a life changing experience, which was not only for you & your sister, but for each of those families down in Guatemala. Very touching.

      -Aubrey

    6. Christy V says:

      Valente – Thanks! Glad you enjoy it.

      Raymond – Do ya?? Yeah I need to write my sponsored kids more. Kinda feel bad that i don’t. At least I’ve met them and they know I care. 🙂

    7. valente says:

      amazing story love your blog

    8. That’s very cool! I have a foster child in the Philippines and I hope to visit him one day. I should really write him more though… 🙂

    9. Christy V says:

      Javier – we watched the children dance and sing folk songs and they all gave us arms full of fruit as gifts!

      Patrick – Yeah, I think the Mayans are soo interesting! I even love their temples. So much to learn yet.

      Brittni – Thanks! I love when people enjoy my photography and stories!

      Sarah – Glad you like the story! I love to capture a moment. And that moment was def worth it.

      Ayngelina – Thanks! Ever been?

    10. Javier says:

      What did you do at the gathering? How many people were there? Guatemala sounds like a very interesting country. You have my vote!

    11. Patrick A says:

      What a wonderful culture the Mayan have. It’s great learning about the lives of others. It reminds us that we are all human walking through life.

    12. collin brown says:

      That’s awesome, great job krusty!

    13. brittni says:

      if there is anyone that can show you a story through a couple photos it’s christy! her pictures and stories of her adventures make me want to take all kinds of trips 🙂

    14. Sarah says:

      I think this story truly captures the power and magic of travel – when it becomes not just observing other people and places, but truly embracing new friends and their culture in a way that will forever change you. Favorite story by far!

    15. Ayngelina says:

      This definitely has my vote, an amazing experience in Guatemala.

    16. Libby Brown says:

      Reading Christy Villegas’ response was not only inspiring, but thought provoking. It takes giving at Christmas time to a whole ‘nother level involving giving and travel. Her thoughtfulness and effort shines through. Not only does this make me want to travel more, but to help out under privileged children and adults what a great combination- truly the 2 best feeling an individual can feel. Christy Villegas, you have my vote. Keep helping, traveling, and making a difference in your community and those around you!

    17. What an awesome story! You are such a great person Christy! I am glad to know both you and your sister!

    18. Christy Villegas says:

      Ooops my sister was still signed in. That was me answering back.

    19. Andrea Gnad says:

      Cheryl – You’ve been to Guate, great great experience. A simple visit to see the people would change anyone’s life!

      Andrea – you were there with me! Bet you got the goosebumps as well when you heard those prayers.

      Nicole – you should go one day 😉 One step at a time. lol

    20. Deb says:

      What a wonderful experience. It is so moving to meet the children that you have been sponsoring. To see a project in person, is amazing and truly a life changing experience.

    21. Andrea Gnad says:

      Having gone through this experiences with Christy I can see how I has become a life changing experience. It was def. eye opening to be part of this culture for a day. Great story! 1 vote from me!

    22. Nicole Bachman says:

      Christy’s experience in Guatemala definitely will open your eyes to all sorts of things you can do to help out. Every little bit helps! You 100% got my vote!

    23. Cheryl Gnad says:

      Her experience of the this trip is a life changing event! As her mom, we both got to experience this a few years earlier. The Mayans of Guatemala are still often 2nd class people and when we come just to see them and to help their families they are most grateful. I recommend you visit them yourselves some day soon. I vote for this story!

    24. Christy Villegas says:

      Anyone else ever experience the gratitude of the Mayan people in Guatemala? They have been through some hard times in the last few years.

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