International Mission Trip to Guatemala
Guatemala is located in Central America, bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between El Salvador and Mexico, and bordering the Gulf of Honduras on the Caribbean Sea, between Honduras and Belize. Because it is located within the tropics, it ranges in elevations between sea level and more than 13,000 feet. It is a country rich in natural beauty, and features impressive mountains, volcanoes, and lakes.
The Maya civilization flourished here during the first millennium A.D.; then for 300 years, it was a Spanish colony, until finally it won its independence from Spain in 1821. From that moment on, the country has experienced a variety of military and civilian governments, and a 36 year civil war, which ended in 1996 when a peace agreement was signed. The civil war killed more than 200,000 people and created, by some estimates, about 1 million refugees.
The civil war may be over, yet there are many challenges the Guatemalan people currently face. Guatemala is a predominantly poor country that struggles in several areas of health and development, including infant, child, and maternal mortality, malnutrition, and literacy. Chronic malnutrition and mother-child mortality rates are among the highest in the region; the country’s large indigenous population is disproportionately affected. According to the World Bank, Guatemala has one of the highest levels of inequality, especially in rural and indigenous areas. In rural municipalities, (which account for 44% of the country) almost eight out of 10 people are poor, according to the outcomes of the 2011 Rural Poverty Map. Most recently, a series of natural disasters hit Guatemala in 2010 and 2011 causing an estimated $1.8 billion in damages and losses.
When you serve in Guatemala with Group International Mission Trips, you’ll have the chance to serve alongside those who are making a difference in Guatemala. This experience will grow your faith and expand your understanding of the complexity of poverty and cultural diversity.