Ever since we've been here, Sam has talked about wanting to go to Zone 18, which is an extremely rough area of Guatemala City. The kind of place where you never go alone, or at night. To be honest, I haven't been too excited about the idea. Walking around in a place where there are gang members, drug dealers, and who knows what else lurking about just doesn't sound that enjoyable to me.
However, John Banta, who works with Global Soccer Ministries and does a lot of work in Zone 18 assured us that if he took us down there and we stayed together it would be just fine. After watching a children's soccer practice that GSM set up we went to meet a famliy who lives in Paraiso, which is one of the worst parts of Zone 18.
It was both heartbreaking and inspiring to see. The house they lived in was basically a shack built of corrugated metal sheeting, sitting on top of mud on the side of a mountain. I can hardly imagine living in such conditions, let alone raising children.
The amazing thing was how well they were doing. The children all ran right up to us wanting to talk to us and asking me to take pictures of them. The parents laughed and joked with us. They were just happy to see us. I don't many people from the US that could live in such a situation without breaking down, but these people are making the most of their situation; going to school and hopefully one day improving their lives and the lives of their families.