While Kevin and Zach are in El Salvador I decided to re-run previous posts written about previous trips to El Salvador. The first one is written by Courtney after returning from her first Habit for Humanity trip in 2009. Enjoy!
el salvador…from courtney
alright, so when i got home from el salvador, my mom told me that she may or may not have hinted that i was going to be writing something about my trip for her blog. so here i am, against my will…i’m just kidding. well, not about what she said, but i am excited to share about my trip!
my dad and i went on this trip because our family friends, katie (my age) and todd (her dad) german, told us about how much they love going and having this experience. on the saturday we left (march 14) we arrived at the airport at about 4:30 a.m. it was quite intense. our flight left at about 6:00 and we were off to a different country! it was pretty exciting, especially as i had never been out of the country before! after a connecting flight in atlanta, we arrived in el salvador in time for dinner, which is where our first adventure started. with the language barrier, it was a little hard to order food! but we did manage, and for the next day and a half, we hung out and saw the country. we also ate in this restaurant, which, yes, is 20 feet off the ground on those unstable looking stilts (and on top of that, located in a volcano). it was quite the experience!
but the real part of the trip started on monday (march 16). that’s when we first went to the sites we would be working at for the rest of the week. there were three sites, so our group split up into smaller ones. we met the masons and workers we would be working with, and later in the day we also got to meet the family we were building the house for! it was a really cool thing to see why we were working – they were so grateful for this house. it was actually really small – there were five rooms, and the two bedrooms were a little larger than the top of an good sized kitchen table. throughout the week, we got to know everyone we were working with quite well, and it was incredible to see everyone form friendships through this huge language barrier. we started out the week really at the beginning of the construction process, but by the end, we had the foundation laid (which was a lot of sand and rock moving on katie’s, mr german’s, and my part, and a lot of cement mixing on my dad’s and mr german’s part) and had the first row of cement blocks laid. it was so hard to leave the last time – the mom of the family was crying, and the teenage daughter was crying, and we were all so sad!
really though, the entire experience was so great. it was so interesting to see all of these different things, and eat all of these different foods, and meet all of these different people. the entire lifestyle there is different – everyone just seems so laid back. i am not sure we ever saw anyone in a hurry. which of course is a major contrast to life here – everyone is always rushing to get somewhere!
so my mom just looked over at me typing and said, “at the end of every post i write, i always answer the question, what’s the point? why would someone want to read this post?” i was actually unaware that i would have to have an actual point to this.
ok. i thought about it. i think there are several points. i think one of the points is, it’s incredibly important to experience a different point of view. the masons there like to do many things their way. sometimes, you can think of other ways to do them, but their ways aren’t wrong – they’re just different. i think you can apply that principle to a lot of different areas in life. when you’re having a disagreement, it’s entirely possible that neither side is wrong – they’re just different. i think another point is to be grateful for what you have. a lot of people in america constantly hope for bigger, better things, and it’s really easy to forget that the majority of the world would do a lot of crazy things for the things or house or car you’ve got. when i said those bedrooms are about the size of a kitchen table, i was not kidding… and a lot of people in america have closets bigger than that. i think another point is nothing bad will happen if you relax a little bit. you’d have to see what it’s like – when we were working, a lot of people in the neighborhood would spend up to an hour just sitting around and talking to each other, visiting the worksite, trying out their little bit of english on us gringos, while we just smiled and nodded and said “si” a lot. and yes, things still got done. and the people there seemed pretty happy – most likely from the smaller amount of stress. that is my guess.
so thanks for looking at this, and i know some of you prayed for us while we were gone – thanks for that too! i hope you enjoyed reading what i had to say.
p.s. the fish up there is from dinner one night… i ordered a fish stuffed with shrimp, and that is exactly what i got. complete with teeth. and we also had the chance to go ziplining! so that is that picture to the left. you can’t actually see the platform i’m headed to, but it’s somewhere on the other side of that canyon…
(Tomorrow I will post last years column from Zach after returning from his trip)