I was and still am new to community service. Before attending this trip, I had very few hours of community service under my belt, so I went to El Salvador to change that. On the first day, however, my goal of decorating my college application was abandoned after my interactions with students in El Salvador.
When I saw the eagerness for learning in my students’ eyes, I wanted to do more for them; I wanted to help them. For the next five days, I taught them how to introduce themselves to others in English; however, my students differed in their learning capabilities because of their age differences.
While older students were answering intricate questions about their preferences in life (their favorite drink, food, etc), younger students were still struggling to distinguish between “How old are you?” and “How are you?” Nevertheless, they were all able to introduce themselves fluently in English at the closing ceremony. After witnessing their passion for learning, I ended up making a promise that I had never dreamed of making until that moment: Wait for me, I will come back next year. The idea of having people waiting a year for you to comeback warmed me and persuaded me to make such a promise.
Not only did we give hope to the children, but we also gave a promising future for a family. Before we came to help, this family lived under sheets of metal that would leak when the storm hits, collapse after a devastating snowstorm, and provide no protection when malicious intruders walks in. After understanding the condition of their current “house”, our team was motivated. During the working week, we would wake up at dawn, arrive early at the worksite, and work eight hours a day to build a robust house that could protect the family from merciless weather and hostile intruders; a house that could be called “Home”.
I learned numerous valuable lessons during this trip, but if I can only take back one lesson from this trip, then I will cherish the importance of the change in my goal. I went there to decorate my college application at first, but the children helped me to realize that even I who came to make his college application pretty can make a difference in the lives of many El Salvadoran children. I am thankful for Habitat for giving me a chance to learn, and I cannot wait to go back to El Salvador next year.
<Yoon Seo Jiang / Wakefield School 11th grade