Four students from the Weyburn Comp returned after spending their Easter holidays building a house for a needy family in Mexico, and shared how the experience has changed their lives.
Kira Durston commented on the experience, and some of things that she learned. "It taught me to distinguish between my needs and wants. Because (when) I look in my closet and say 'Oh, I need another pair of jeans' or 'Oh, I need new shoes.' I always said need, when it was actually a want. I also notice (now) how much food we waste."
"It was definitely a big eye-opener and worth the time going down there," added Chelzie Kot.
Attending from the Comp's Christian Ethics class were Chelzie Kot, Deborah Nikkel, Kira Durston and Rory Bax, along with nine others from the Estevan Comp. The students were in Central Baja of Mexico, south of San Diego, where they stayed in the town of Vicente Guerrero.
Deborah Nikkel explained of her experience, "The whole thing was really amazing, and I liked getting out of the country because I don't travel very much. (Also) seeing the conditions that the majority of the world live in opposed to Canada and the United States. I also really liked the construction experience."
"I liked (the mission) because I got to experience a whole different country; it was really eye-opening and changed me a bit," added Rory Bax.
In Vicente Guerrero the students built a house for a family of four, that had two children aged one and four. The students built a 440-square-foot house, which was four times the size of the family's old one.
The house's cement pad was already done so the students built the rest. They built the walls, roof panels, shingled the house using sticks to spread the tar and they painted the house. The group got the supplies from local stores in Mexico to help support their economy. They furnished the house with beds, tables and tools, and also went shopping at local grocery stores.
Christian Ethics educator Terese Durston, who was one of the chaperones, said, "One thing I really noticed down there is that we were going down there to make them happier, but they made us happier. They have nothing, but they have joy, they have family and they have community. When the kids went out to play, all ages played together and they were happy, they were not unhappy people. The children were smiling, laughing and having fun like children do here, even more so than here "
The family was there to watch as the house was built, but when the students were furnishing the house the family were not allowed to see what was going on. "When we were putting things into the house, the mom was peeking in through the windows trying to see what we were doing," said Kot.
She added, "Going down there changed my views (of life). We are very fortunate to have what we have. They need at least 100 houses in the area to have electricity, they have no running water, they have to do all their laundry by hand and (it was different) to see how they live compared to how we do."
"When we built this house people were happy that this family received more comfort by having (these luxuries); they weren't jealous or anything," added Durston.
To raise funds for the trip, the students ran many fundraisers, including a taco sale, a raffle, a pancake breakfast, and pasta supper. The students from the Weyburn Comp and the Estevan Comp raised $1,250 together to build the home, furnish it, and supply groceries for the family.
The students found the family through a company called Hero Holidays, which is a business that picks families to make the world a better place. For the family to be able to apply, they must own land and have at least one family member working.