This July a group of 13 students and 2 members of staff travelled all the way to Guatemala for a 3 week volunteering placement with the charity, Education for the Children. Most students didn’t know anyone else on the trip before they signed up, but by the end of a 26 hour journey everyone was getting on like a house on fire. The first few days were spent exploring and inducting us into our new surroundings. The charity’s Volunteering Coordinator, Ana, took us on an orientation walk of our home for the 3 weeks, Antigua, a beautifully rustic colonial town shadowed by volcanoes, before showing us around the school and introducing us to the other volunteers.
Whilst we were there the money we raised had helped towards giving 3 families brand new roofs for their houses, which are much needed as many of the children at the school live in poverty. Many of us found the volunteering experience quite emotional, seeing just how little these people had was truly humbling and definitely makes you evaluate how much we really need all the ‘stuff’ we surround ourselves with in western society. We expected the housing to be poor, but we found them to be little more than four walls of corrugated iron with a leaky roof on top, dotted with a few possessions and a floor of mud that’s washed downhill during one of the frequent torrential rainstorms. Before we could help replace the roof all the equipment had to be carried up the steep hill leading to houses, then holes for supporting beams were dug before finally removing and replacing the old rusted roof. The whole process took about 4 days to complete.
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