What did you do during your spring break? If you were an Interactor in District 7040, you might have gone to Guatemala to work with Common Hope, an organization that makes education possible for impoverished children and families in Guatemala. A group of 15 - 11 students and 4 adults, left Montreal, Canada early in the morning of March 12, with 30 suitcases of donations and travelled all day to land in Guatemala in the evening. 

Monday, our work started. Everyone was given a choice of activities each day. You could choose to see one of the artisans of the region at work. There was tortilla making, a silversmith, and a ceramic artist. You could help at the daycare or the library. Two of us unpacked the suitcases with donations. There was site maintenance, but most important of all, we built a house!

It’s a simple house, cement floor, cement board panels and a corrugated tin roof. There is no electricity or water, yet the family that we built it for thought it was a palace. The floor was poured on Tuesday, and at the shop area we made panels for the walls. Everything had to be taken to the build site. The best part of that, according to the Vision Team members, was riding in the back of a pick-up truck. Friday afternoon we had the house blessing and because we were an all-Canadian team, we presented the family with a Canadian flag, signed by all the team members.

Each group of volunteers that goes for a week, a Vision Team, gets an opportunity to come face-to-face with poverty, often to an extent not experienced before. I asked a couple of the students who lived nearby to come and talk at a session at the District 7040 Training Assembly. What blew me away was when they started talking about the culture shock, more so when they got home then when they arrived there. The whole experience really made an impression on them, and on the whole team.