This past month we hosted two back-to-back groups from the states. It was a great opportunity for Ariel, our new Volunteer Coordinator to dive into hosting service groups. Our first group that arrived was Thrive Global, an organization that aims to engage and activate community heroes to volunteer. Volunteering ranges from youth mentorship to local and global service outreach projects. We were thrilled to host Thrive Global’s first global service trip! Four awesome, hardworking women from Hawaii arrived to do a week of service with us. The first couple of days the team got quite the workout by helping to dig a trench needed for our last critical campus building. The team was a huge help with cutting and hammering plastic bottles to make waterproof shingles for one of our aulas (classrooms). They also had the pleasure to see the progress of their hard work by sifting sand that is going to be used for insulation in the finishes of our buildings. Thrive Global generously donated a large suitcase of school and construction supplies to our project. The group had a wonderful and exciting experience dancing alongside our students during their Physical Education class. They even got to teach some improvised choreography! These ladies got a first hand Comalapa cultural experience by visiting Robert and Oscar Peren’s galleries. We hope they enjoyed their time with us as much as we did!
Our next group was a Gap Year program called LeapNow that arrived for their third year with us. LeapNow allows young adults to travel and intern abroad while discovering and becoming themselves. They began their two month travel adventures in Central America, volunteering with us in Comalapa. The group consisted of ten students and two staff. The entire group volunteered with great spirits and attitude throughout the strenuous manual labor tasks; including digging trenches, pounding tires, and moving dirt. The group also helped immensely in almost completely attaching all the shingles to Aula 1. The group demonstrated their teamwork and dedication to volunteering when given the task of mixing and pouring cement to cover a water line in merely 2 hours. The team got two opportunities to participate in a cultural exchange with our Básico (middle school) students. The first was contributing to their P.E. class, learning choreography from the students and they got to teach the “Human Knot” activity. The “Human Knot” is where a group makes a tangled knot of arms and has to then try to untangle themselves without unlocking hands. Additionally, they got to spend time at Parque Chimya for Dia del Niños. One of their volunteers had fun getting to be the “King” in a game where the middle schoolers had to run and search for ten different items. They got to experience Comalapa and it’s culture by visiting a local family’s loom and tejidos (textiles). The group was fascinated and in shock when they discovered how much detail and precision it took to make tapestries and huipils (traditional woman shirt). Overall it was a wonderful week and we wish them well on their future travels!
We look forward to having both groups return with us next year!
~Ariel Wexler, LWH Volunteer Coordinator