Twice a semester we take the students into the jungle, to a town called Misahualli. We take them there because we have formed continuing relationships with the local community. Though the students change each semester, as a program we want to have long-term impact instead of a quick in-and-out serve mentality. Our primary partnership is with a small, Christian school called Antioch. 

 

The students and staff work together to do VBS type programs. This exposes the kids to English (the school teaches every student English), the Bible and gives the teachers some much needed grading time. It gives our students the opportunity to love and serve a community vastly different than their own. We also serve this community through work projects ... lots of them! We spend three hour chunks, both morning and afternoon sweating together, hauling together, pounding together. Whatever needs to be done! Though manual labor isn't my favorite, I really appreciate working right alongside the students. We tell stories about ourselves and our experiences while we dig holes. We laugh and we labor together and bonds are formed. I also deeply love that we work alongside their crew (who are 10x faster and more efficient) as a whole team and allow them to direct us to any task.

 

This trip I led one of the two work crews. I spent a day hauling rocks in wheelbarrows and a day digging holes in rocky, tough ground. It was the hottest weather the community said they'd had in years and we SWEAT through everything. But it was amazing to see a student like Kiana, who is slight and sometimes anxious about new things, wheel rocks with impressive fortitude and an even better attitude. It was neat to see someone quiet, like Tanner, be an absolute workhorse and leader to his crew. And it was super gratifying to pound a mallet into the ground over and over again and then to finally get a large rock to release. Those holes were needed for new playground equipment and it was awesome to see that playground up and full of kids the next time we came.

 

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