Christopherson Business Travel is a proud corporate sponsor of CHOICE Humanitarian. In addition to voluntary employee contributions and matching program, Christopherson annually sends a group of employees on a week-long humanitarian expedition. Based out of Salt Lake City, CHOICE Humanitarian works in seven countries to help those in extreme poverty. Using a village-centered approach, they work to improve quality of life through self-sufficiency. This year, our group employees visited a small village in the Buena Vista region of Guatemala. Tammy Irvin, a corporate travel advisor from our Alabama office was selected to volunteer on this trip.
Tammy’s story with Choice Humanitarian
The CHOICE Humanitarian expedition to Guatemala is a trip I will never forget. This trip brought out so many emotions in me—laughter, sadness, heartbreak, and amazement. I cannot thank Christopherson Andavo enough for the opportunity to participate.
I arrived to the hustle and bustle of Guatemala City. It was a little overwhelming at first, but our trip leaders made me feel at ease. We were treated to a great meal at a local restaurant and a trip to the Market. Once the rest of the team members arrived, we went to our first stop, a resort called Rio Dulce. There, I met Amy, my roomie for the week and the other Christopherson Andavo team members, along with the other expedition participants. We enjoyed dinner together and had a great time relaxing at the pool.
The next day, we went on a boat ride and then boarded two small buses. I am extremely afraid of heights, so I was not looking forward to this part of the trip. We wound around the mountainous roads and finally, we arrived—to the “drop-over- the-edge-and-you-will-die point.” I got a few heckles, but my fear faded and I was fine.
Finally, we arrived at Sikaab’e. Sikaab’e is a vocational training school in the Polochic Valley. Sikaabe is Q’eqchi for “seek your path.” We were lucky enough to stay in their dorm for the week! The next day we began our work of digging trenches, building chicken coops, and painting the dorm. We took a day to visit with the women in a neighboring village and teach hygiene, while the men bonded with the local soccer team. Every day was an adventure. As the week went by, we slowly realized that you can disconnect, be unplugged, and you will survive.
In short, we ate, laughed, cried, made new friends we will never forget, and helped someone make it through one more day. The trip is actually helping me make it through one more day. I know it’s not what you have, it’s what you give—in whatever way you give it. I have never seen so many happy people—so many people that didn’t have much, but what they had, they were grateful for.
I have a million memories and for that, I am thankful.