Exmouth woman hails Guatemala trip as an eye opener

PUBLISHED: 16:30 13 August 2015

Olivia Hylton-Smith working with youngsters affected by poverty

Olivia Hylton-Smith working with youngsters affected by poverty

Archant

A Brixington woman believes the time she spent volunteering in Guatemala has opened her eyes to what Exmouth has to offer.

Olivia Hylton-Smith, 20, of Churchill Road, recently returned from a two-month trip to the Central American nation, where she helped to build a community library.

She also worked with children and adults affected by poverty.

Olivia said she would go back tomorrow if she could.

“They are some of the kindest, most humble people I have ever met and I will never forget my experience there,” said Olivia.

“Guatemala is certainly under-rated; it’s an absolutely beautiful country.

“It’s very hard to put into words what an experience like that does to you.

“I guess it has opened my eyes to all the beauty in the world, not just over in Guatemala, but Exmouth, too. I feel so lucky to have been born into a country full of opportunities for young people.”

Olivia spent the first few weeks working with children affected by gangs, before her group was stationed in the mountain town of San Cristobal.

Despite the locals only speaking their own dialect, Olivia helped to give workshops to children and adults alike about sex education, human rights and gender equality.

She was also part of a team which assisted with the building of a library for azx community school.

Olivia is now looking for more overseas projects to get involved in and is urging anyone who is interested in volunteering overseas to go to www.volunteerics.org

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