By Sheri Staak
Leadership and Motivation
For Emma Spencer Living
My children are currently working to pull together school supplies to take to Guatemala this summer. Giving back to the people and places you travel is as important as that which you gain from making the trek. Giving back isn’t as difficult as it may at first seem
Here are some tips to making a positive impact with minimal effort.
- Eat at local restaurants. Of course you save money staying at a condo and cooking meals yourself, but when you eat at a local restaurant you are financially supporting waiters, busboys, dishwashers, cooks, and entrepreneurs.
- Your skill set may be needed. Doctors and nurses are skills that lend themselves to volunteering in poor countries. We have skills as well. Computer experts can volunteer at a local school. Sales and marketers can help increase visibility for a non-profit. Sport enthusiasts can volunteer to help with gym classes.
- Bring or purchase locally school supplies and deliver them to a local school. You will be welcomed with open arms. Your generosity will help educate locals.
Visiting Schools in Guatemala
- Limit your trash. You wouldn’t trash your own back yard so why trash a country when you are a guest? Be responsible and pay attention to what you throw out or trash.
- Be friendly and receptive. A local in one country shared with our family that too many tourists take the locals for granted and don’t respect them. By simply taking time to smile, interact, and treat the locals with respect will pay you rewards as well.
- See it, admire it, and leave it. In Hawaii it is considered bad luck to remove lava from the islands and transport them to the mainland. One hand touching a granite carving doesn’t destroy it, but millions of hands over time does damage the art.
Petroglyphs (Rock Carvings) in Hawaii
- Volunteer a day or two of you trip. Simply contacting a local charity will be helpful to their needs as well as giving you an insightful experience. If you can’t find a local charity grab a garbage bag and clean up a beach, park or roadside.
The time and effort you put into volunteering while traveling will pay great rewards to those that receive your services and to you by being involved in the process. Remember, be a traveler who cares and not a tourist who is only self-centered.