Hilary Hambrick Taft
Hilary Hambrick Taft
Guatemala 2013-2014
I am volunteering at the Monte Cristo Center in Chimaltenango, Guatemala. This family-run community development center provides education, healthcare, & vocational training to the surrounding community. I will assist with teaching English and computer literacy as well as possibly working on a micro-loan fund for local farmers. Read More About Hilary →

Reflection at Halfway

We’ve been here for seven months now, a month past the halfway point of our Lumos journey. People have been asking me, “How does it feel? Like you’ve been here forever or like time is flying by?” I’m not quite sure what the correct answer is. When I think about all that I’ve done in the last seven months, it feels like an eternity.

  • Moving into the casita
  • Sumpango Kite Festival
  • Researching a possible honey business in Jacaltenango
  • Making our first batch of lotions
  • Traveling to Monterrico, Atitlan, and Mexico
  • Celebrating Guatemalan Christmas with tamales and going on posadas
  • Being comfortable in my Spanish abilities for the first time
  • Teaching my first formal English class
  • Making meaningful relationships with our students and co-workers
  • Writing the first semester of our English curriculum
  • Having Belmont here to experience Guatemala
  • Finishing out first round of exams with our students
  • Being truly seen as a teacher & contributor, not just as a volunteer

And when I think about our Nashville life and all my wonderful friends and family that I’ve missed so much these seven months, it also feels like I’ve been in Guatemala for years. But when I remember all the goals and dreams we have yet to accomplish, our time here feels as though it’s only just begun.

  • Getting “Queen Bee” certified and into stores
  • Finishing our English curriculum
  • Traveling to Tikal and El Salvador
  • Making connections in the social enterprise network in Antigua
  • Deepening my daily interactions with our students
  • Leaving a positive mark and influence on their lives
  • Being “conversationally fluent” in Spanish

One thing I do know for sure is that the last seven months has changed me. I’ve learned patience and flexibility that I never thought was possible. I feel integrated to CEMOC life with the responsibilities and leadership it demands. My empathy for those around me has matured and taken root in my heart. Monte Cristo has become a part of me. I know I’m not ready to leave at this halfway point and thankful for the five months we have remaining.


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