By Naresli Calito, CFCA communications center assistant for El Salvador
A group of 34 students from Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan., visited the Unbound Center in Santa Ana, El Salvador, on their spring break for a chance to change the lives of three families.
Their mission was to build three houses and a latrine. But they went beyond building structures.
They built relationships.
I really think these young people saw the reality and hope from a Salvadorian perspective. They were able to understand the real meaning of love and compassion, and that you don’t need to speak the same language to make new friends.
The first three days they worked on the construction of the homes. They worked hard under the sun in temperatures as high as 92 degrees.
When the students finished construction, they visited a town in Ahuachapan, in western El Salvador, where they met young people trying to get ahead in life. The Benedictine students could see that the similarities between them and the young Salvadorans bridged the two cultures.
“Choosing to go to El Salvador for spring break was one of the best decisions of my life,” said Kathryn Hermes, a Benedictine student.
“I fell in love with the people, the culture, the climate — everything except the terrible poverty. Yet despite living in poverty, the people there are the richest people I know.
“In the people of El Salvador, I saw the face of Christ. They were so welcoming and joyful!
“I was really touched by how much love the people had for each other and for us. I was both humbled and blessed to be able to serve them in a small way by helping to build a house.
“I’m truly thankful to Unbound for giving us all this great opportunity to love and be loved, and for giving hope to people living in poverty around the world.”
Want to help build better homes for those served by Unbound? Donate to our Housing Fund today!