Hello my fellow Kintail friends! Rue here reporting from San Miguel, El Salvador! I am here leading a team of my peers from Wilfrid Laurier University on a build with Global Villages, a branch of Habitat for Humanity. We are building a 3 bedroom house for a small deserving family in the short time span of a week. When first recruiting participants, it was difficult to convince students to spend over $1500 to travel to a remote village in Central America to spend their reading week doing work for others. I was blessed with ten amazing girls and one professor who were ready and willing to spend their only week off getting down and dirty. While most of our friends were in Mexico, Cuba or other beautiful places soaking in the sun, we were in work boots and hard hats mixing cement and laying bricks. Every morning started at 6AM with an early breakfast and quick 15 minute drive to the construction site. The first job of the day was sifting dirt that could be mixed into cement that would be poured into holes and smeared over the bricks. Then we would spend the rest of the morning shovelling dirt into wheelbarrows, bringing it over to a room then pounding it into the floor to flatten it. Our afternoons were smaller jobs we could do in the shade such as cutting bricks with a power saw and twisting wire. Even though throughout the day we could feel sweat dripping down our backs, the sun burning through our sunscreen or the icky feeling of humidity and cement covering our skin; I never heard once complaint out of my team. The family was right next to us building, and providing us with the drive to continue shovelling dirt no matter how sore our arms were. Being the counsellor that I am, there was a natural friendship formed with the 5 year old boy of the family we were building for. His name was Oscar and he was shy. He eventually became my shadow on the site and helped when he could. One day we were pounding dirt and for safety reasons he could not participate. Wanting to be included none the less, he crawled onto my back and cheered me on. Being as hot and tired as I was, a piggy back was the last thing I wanted to be giving, but seeing how happy he was was all I needed to keep working and balancing him on my back simultaneously. It was interesting how much camp came into play while on the trip. We sang camp songs while we worked, at the end of the day we did devotions and did both the squeeze prayer and finger prayer, and of course played LOTS of ninja while in the airport. Every time I go on a build or a development trip, I keep my expectations low and do my best to stay focused, an yet every time I am blown away by the generosity shown by the community and the impact each individual has on you. I will never forget what I learnt as a leader as well as a small part in a big plan and look forward to using these skills this summer as the Eco Team Leader.
Below is a link to the video I made of the trip: Rue in El Salvador