Ambassador Travelogue: Finding Community in Guatemala
Sarah Arnett is a Noonday Ambassador, an army wife, and a mom of five. She became an Ambassador as a way to help people in her community discover how to use their purchasing power for good. This June, she had the opportunity to travel with a group of Ambassadors from across the US to Guatemala, where she connected with Noonday’s Artisan Partners firsthand – and discovered the beauty of the Ambassador community.
In a society where popular TV shows are based upon the premise, “take a group of strangers, throw them into intense situations, and watch them fight to the finish,” I am so very grateful for our counter-cultural Noonday Ambassador community. “Better Together” runs deep in our veins. It’s a heart-philosophy that infuses our interactions. Encouragement is the name of our game.
In the case of our May Guatemala trip group, a lively Voxer conversation ensured that we quickly went from strangers to friends. We had nicknames and inside jokes, and knew how we could support one another before the trip even began! By the time we met at the airport, all that was left was the hugs! Our foundation was solid, but it was just the beginning of our connection.
Our time in country was fun, happy, sad, exciting, anxiety producing, and emotional. Within our #noondayguatemala tribe we had a nurturer; a gal that we turned to for answers; a truth teller that we could count on for perspective; and a friend with perfectly timed funny comments. Throughout our time together, though, we each took turns wearing those hats, allowing all of us to show the depth of our personalities. We didn’t have to fit into a box. We could be all that we were created to be.
As we sat together at dinner one night, discussing our opinions of the Ambassador community, we all agreed that it’s the hidden gem in the Noonday experience. When we became Ambassadors, we knew that we loved Noonday’s mission and work, but we had no idea of the riches that awaited us within the group of women that would surround us. Comments around that table included:
“You found a community that cares as much as you do. That’s a gift.”
“I can take a trip by myself—but it’s the Ambassador connection that I want.”
“There are no secrets when you live with people 24/7. They love you at your best and worst.”
We were each profoundly impacted by meeting our Artisan Partners, seeing first hand the importance of our sales in their lives. We saw poverty. We saw hope. We faced fears. We laughed until our stomachs hurt. We know how each of us met our husbands, what our kids’ names are, and what challenges we currently face. We processed all of this together. And we are all stronger for it.
The time together in Guatemala was a gift. We gained new friends that many long for but few find. The biggest surprise, however, was the way we needed each other upon returning home. Being changed by an Artisan trip is to be expected, but how does one integrate that into daily life? How do we tell these stories without crying? How do we convey how very impressive our Artisan Partners are? How do we tell our team members clearly and concisely about this experience? These questions are still in process, and we’re figuring them out together.
We are a group of relative strangers that came together into an emotionally charged situation, but we had no time to criticize or compare. Our goal was to appreciate each moment with one another. We see the best in each other, often when we can’t see it in ourselves. Our community and our connection are strong. We have a shared heartbeat and open arms. We are committed to positively influencing our little part of the world. We are World Changers. We are Noonday Ambassadors.
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