MLWGS guatemala


Today’s post is brought to you by my son and his Relevance Rising seminar classmates.

For the past year they’ve been raising money and awareness towards their international service projectΒ Biblioteca Comunitaria Tzununa in Guatemala.

And last month they traveled there to lend a hand.


guatemala volcano

Lake Atitlan, Guatemala


Fruits of labor

Santa Catarina


Panajachel Guatemala

Panajachel Nature Reserve


tzununa lake atitlan dock

Boat ride from Panajachel to Tzununa

Lake Atitlan


tzununa guatemala journey

The path to Tzununa


clearing tzununa library site

Clearing rocks and weeds for the site of the future Tzununa library.


guatemala library site

tzununa children guatemalaTzununa village children



These last two pictures were captured by the children–they loved playing with my son’s camera. πŸ™‚


Tzununa school

relevance rising MLWGS


If you’d like to read some more words from the students, check out their Tumblr page HERE.


What’s inspiring you this week?

Happy Monday!

46 thoughts on “Guat’s up? Building a Library, Friendship, & Community

  1. Catherine

    Great post by your son, Coleen. What a fabulous trip! I have a Swedish friend who did some voluntary work making walls in Scotland. I think traveling plus volunteering makes the experience even more rewarding.

  2. Susie Lindau

    Let’s try this again.

    Gavin is so cool! You must be so proud of him. That is a great lesson to learn at a young age. Go Guatemala!

  3. Julia

    What wonderful photos, and what an amazing experience for your son and his classmates. I particularly like the in motion photo taken by one of the kids! Guat’s up? Pretty funny!

    1. Coleen Patrick Post author

      Thanks, Joanna! One day maybe one of these students will look back and write a blog series about their experience similar to your backpacking adventures!

  4. kath unsworth

    Coleen I love how the world has become smaller and your son has the opportunity to do something so amazing such as this. I tell my children often that the world is an incredible place to learn about other cultures, appreciate difference and care about the people in it. Love the photo’s too.

  5. Jennette Marie Powell

    What a wonderful project! It looks like your son also has inherited Mom’s talent for photography, too. πŸ™‚ Things like this really do remind us that we’re more alike than different. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Coleen Patrick Post author

      Before my son left, we knew the basics of his trip, but so much of it seemed so, well, foreign. But now, hearing his stories and seeing his pics, at heart there’s so much similarity. πŸ™‚

  6. Patricia

    That’s incredibly cool. Congratulations to your son and kudos to you for raising such a wonderful man. Looks like there may be a writer in there somewhere.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    1. Coleen Patrick Post author

      Thanks, Patricia. I’ll tell him that. He will appreciate it as he has been bogged down in “hateful” essay writing. πŸ™‚

  7. Phil

    Such a great thing your son is supporting. You must be proud! There really are good kids out there. Those are all wonderful pictures too.

  8. Charissa

    I love how they’re helping them get ready to build a library. Perfect! My brother went to Lake Atitlan. I love the pictures of that place. It’s gorgeous.

  9. Pat O'Dea Rosen

    Hi, Coleen,
    Your son’s post is inspiring. I’m off to build scenes and chapters, but I carry with me your son’s enthusiasm and the memory, via his photos, of exuberant kids.

  10. Karen McFarland

    Wow, just wow! Coleen, you and your husband must be so very proud of that son of yours! Gavin is an amazing young man. It is obvious that you instilled a love for life and people regardless of the color of their skin or nationality. Yes, we are all brothers and sisters! You better believe he will be talking about this trip for the rest of his life. What a wonderful opportunity. Thanks for sharing this with us! Great post girl! πŸ™‚

  11. Debra Kristi

    What a fabulous, worthy experience to be involved in. You must be so proud, instilling so much love and compassion in Gavin that he has followed through and participate in something so big like this. These memories are something that will stay with him always. And the lives he’s touched, that will forever make a difference.

    1. Coleen Patrick Post author

      Overall I think the kids had a positive, rewarding experience, which will hopefully encourage more opportunities to make a difference! Thank you, Debra.

  12. Alarna Rose Gray

    What a wonderful experience for Gavin! I love what he got out of the trip, the common links we share. That will stay with him a lifetime – you must be very proud πŸ™‚

  13. clay

    This is the second attempt, or rather third. I saw your post Monday and told myself – WOW, what a great experience. I am always amazed at how service, whether it is large or small or simple or complex, can influence the development of our kids. It helps them build a deeper understanding of our role on the planet. It helps them understand that it is more than just where we live or who live among. We can read books, watch videos, but when we go there and experience it – it is so much deeper. Thanks. I am sure he had a great time and came back beaming. I know inside he’s a different young man and he’ll look back on this as an important point in his life. Have a great day.

    1. Coleen Patrick Post author

      Sorry you had trouble commenting, Clay. You’re right, he came back beaming–from his experience AND because he realized how great he has life here in the United States. πŸ™‚

      1. Clay

        It was a combination of lack of time, fat fingers, and trying do something quicker than I should have…. Gotta slow down, sometimes! Love the post.

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