Raising the Bar on Health and Hygiene in Guatemala

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If ever you feel down in the dumps, consider the people who live there.

Clean the World and several passionate hospitality partners traveled to Guatemala in March to distribute freshly pressed soap bars to children and families in disadvantaged communities, some of whom live in the dumps — literally.

Accompanying Clean the World staff members Rosanna Kingston and Holly Boland on this particular soap distribution trip were William Kellock and Becki Greif from Concord Hospitality, Keith Levit and Lois Hefling from Lakeview Hotels & Resorts in Canada, and Blair and Brooke Christianson from Canalta Hotels in Canada.

Venturing into the landfill to find families in need of better hygiene was simple in theory, but difficult in practice. The roughly 20,000 individuals who live on the edge of the Guatemala City Dumps struggle daily for survival, and the gift of a fresh bar of soap is a welcome and necessary hygiene product to stop the spread of disease, and also a bit of fresh-smelling hope for a cleaner, healthier life.

Demand for hygiene products is immense in this very poor region of Guatemala where children often pick through the landfill trash to find food, clothing, and other basic items just to survive. While it is difficult to imagine the daily struggles faced by individuals living in such poverty, it was a relief to see the smiles on faces of many, particularly the children, when they received soaps distributed by Clean the World and its adventurous partners in hygiene.

Keith Levit, president of Lakeview Hotels, is also a professional photographer. He captured many of the dramatic images of this soap distribution journey, which are highlighted in this photo gallery.

A total of nearly 13,000 soap bars were distributed in various locations surrounding Guatemala City, including 5,000 at the Guatemala City Dumps; 5,000 at Maria Teresa Ghetto; 2,000 at Hogar Solidario Virgen de la Esperanza Orphanage in Guatemala City; and nearly 1,000 at Dorie’s Promise Guatemala Orphanage.

The visit to Dorie’s Promise, a privately-run orphanage owned by Forever Changed International from which 400 orphans have been adopted into loving homes, really had an impact on at least one member of the group.

“It is incredible for me to see how they have been able to look out for these children, giving them a better life than they clearly had before,” says Concord Hospitality’s Kellock. “I am looking for the opportunity to spread the word about the great work that is being done here.”

Clean the World has scheduled a second trip to Guatemala in late April, which will feature more soap distribution adventures and include hospitality partners from Starwood Hotels & Resorts and Clean the World celebrity spokesperson Mariana Klaveno.


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