The Beauty of Breaking Down Cultural Barriers
The Highland Support Project is an organization that I was lucky enough to work with during my junior year at the University of Florida. I led a Florida Alternative Breaks trip (FAB) to Guatemala over spring break to work in a Maya village. This trip involved working in a kind of community that was very foreign to me and provided additional challenges like language barriers and understanding cultural boundaries. The indigenous community I worked with spoke K’iche’ and a little Spanish but effectively no English. It was amazing to learn the power of non-verbal communication and that I was able to connect with them even without words. The trip offered me so many opportunities to better understand their culture by working in the Maya schools, educating them on public health and performing a lot of construction and reforestation in the village. My week working with the community really affected me in two monumental ways. First, the trip empowered me to want to learn more about other cultures and to better understand how culture and medicine are intertwined. Second, the trip allowed me to develop not only personally but grow into more maturity, and discover new things about myself like my ability to be a leader. I would highly recommend working with HSP. They provide a life-changing experience coupled with friendly people and a well-organized trip.
Dominic Iorio, Florida Alternative Breaks International H&P Trip leader 2007-2008