The 3 a.m. wake-up call was welcomed after a night of restless and anxious sleep. Although we've spent weeks emotionally, physically and spiritually preparing for our week in Guatemala City, our nerves remained.
Azian Bermea, a KCBD Photojournalist, and I met up with the rest of our drowsy travelers at the Lubbock International Airport at 5 a.m.
The clouds provided some of the most beautiful skies I've seen. The rippling white puffs, the smooth flat blankets stretching out across hundreds of miles, the mountainous waves of wispy clouds - it is the purest beauty.
But the clouds cleared to expose a new site that trip leader Jerry Ramirez hadn’t noticed in his past trips to Guatemala.
"You start looking around and you see the slums that I had never noticed,” Ramirez said. “And they don't realize they're poor, they just know they have a need and that they don't have what we have."
Our group of 28 people included 5 translators from the Buckner International office in Guatemala.
These Buckner workers live and work in the communities they serve and see the greatest need every day.
There are also American interns working with Buckner for a few months during their summer break. They spend every day with those who are desperate for help.
The interns will visit schools and assist on social work visits with families in three communities of Guatemala with Buckner Family Hope Centers.
Kelsey Turner is one of four interns.
"There's a lot of crime and poverty here,” Turner said, “as you can see on the surrounding home - there is barbed wire and broken glass on the buildings because there is so much gang activity in the area."
The interns talk about the devastating conditions of places they have visited - they wouldn’t even call them homes.
Christy McCaw goes to school at Baylor and said the places they have seen couldn’t be any more different than the place she calls home.
"I just remember walking to one woman's house,” she said, “and it was literally made of cardboard."
Brooke Hannemann is a Texas Tech student spending her summer vacation here as well.
"It's single mothers just trying to support three to five kids," Hannemann said.
The communities are extremely poor and the people often times don’t know how to provide for their families.