Salesforce team in Guatemala November 2022 November 10, 2022

Posted in on November 10, 2022

DWC Salesforce volunteers at Open Windows San Miguel Dueñas
Salesforce volunteer team at Open Windows San Miguel Dueñas, Guatemala

Day 1 – Nov 7 2022

Today was an incredibly satisfying day for the Salesforce team in Guatemala. The team took a tour of the Open Windows Learning Center and were able to interact with teachers and students. We received a tutorial on eco-stoves and launched into action with the beginning of our house build. For a variety of us, it was an emotional, intense day and the power of being able to meet some of the benefactors brought into focus our mission for this Salesforce Guatemala trip.

We found our rhythm on the job site and with one enormous step at a time, we made significant progress on the day. It’s amazing to see the teamwork in harmony despite only having come together a few days ago. A quick stop for lunch at Open Windows left us in great spirits and some of us were left wondering how exactly we were going to track down Jamaican Rose juice outside of Guatemala!

Deep conversation and belly laughs – I’m looking at you ‘Chicago’ and ‘Buttons’ – were on the menu today. It was exhausting but rewarding work and at the end of the day, a few of us wondered aloud if we could stay on the site longer and continue working. The energy is palpable and we’re already dreaming big for what DWC and Salesforce can accomplish together in the future.
To cap off the night, there were a few shenanigans around dinner and I think we all learned the value in researching a restaurant before we show up! Tomorrow, we will separate into two teams – one for the house build and another to begin the installation of eco stoves.
Already, this trip has been a transformative experience.

Day 2 – Nov 8 2022

Volcán Agua from rooftop of Hotel Posada la Merced
Volcán Agua from rooftop of Hotel Posada la Merced, Antigua Guatemala

Today many of the Salesforce team in Guatemala had our ‘aha’ moment. When you’re pounding cement with a sledgehammer or hauling eco stoves up and down hills, it’s easy to think back to what most of us do at home and realize: we live very privileged lives. We have an even deeper appreciation for the effort people make around the world just to survive and make a living.

In particular, the team who broke off to install eco-stoves were taken aback by the instant impact of their work. It’s a total game changer when you’re able to look into the eyes of the families you’re helping.

The eco stove team crushed their day and managed to install an incredible 9 stoves. That’s 9 families whose lives have changed and no longer have to fear smoke filling their homes as they prepare a meal for their loved ones. The peace of mind in knowing that their children can roam free in their homes without concern for the open flame that put them at risk of injury or worse.

Salesforce, you have made dreams a reality and you should be incredibly proud of the work you’re doing.

Work hard, play hard. We are in Antigua, afterall! We celebrated the day with a fantastic dinner in an even better setting. Beer just tastes better when you’re surrounded by a lush garden that makes you go ‘wow!’.

A few of us found our way to our hotel rooftop to end the night where mother nature put on a spectacular show that even the most seasoned traveler would stand in awe of. The combination of a full moon, Jupiter strutting it’s feathers in all its glory and the creme de la creme: violent eruptions that saw magma dominating the night sky in Antigua.  It was a humbling, powerful experience.

By the way, did you know buttons were invented in India?

Day 3 – Nov 9 2022

Day 4 – A long Work Day

Salesforce volunteer team in Open Windows court Yard

Final blog:

All good things must come to an end. We all know this, but saying goodbye never gets any easier. The team has departed Guatemala, but our impact will continue to be felt in the communities we served. It feels appropriate to have had this experience in Guatemala where 22 years ago, Wayne McRann touched down and started developing the work that would become known as DWC.

It’s a bittersweet feeling to go our separate ways. On the one hand, we’re all very excited to see our friends and family …and sleep in our own beds! On the other hand, the breakfast table is a little more empty, the lobby a little more quiet and deep down you know, your friends have gone.

Travel can be an incredibly rewarding experience, but it isn’t always easy. As challenging as our work was, it seemed to fly by way too fast.

Now, with Salesforce staff touching down at their homes, the emotional impact of the trip is coming into view. Most of us are spoiled for choice and this experience has taught us how so many people in the world, live without.

While the trip may be over, the friendships will remain. Salesforce, thank you for an incredible experience.

Until we meet again.

Posted in on November 10, 2022