CLC Group Volunteers In Guatemala
When most people think of spring break, they think of warm weather, blue skies, and fun in the sun. But for a group from Central Lakes College, it meant traveling to Guatemala to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity.
“They send groups to developing countries to work on the Habitat mission, which is to provide everyone with a decent place to live,” says Dave Kobilka, an instructor at CLC.
The group built adobe stoves, which helps people by redirecting smoke outside of their house. It’s estimated that 52% of Guatemalans have suffered from respiratory disease.
“In half of a day, with a little bit of hard work, you can see that their life is going to be a little bit better,” says Jane Peterson, an instructor at CLC.
“The town we went into, some of the people already had smokeless stoves,” says Kobilka. “Others who did not were saying ‘I want one of those’ because it’s a big improvement in people’s lives.”
The group was able to see the daily struggles that the locals go through, and made it that much more rewarding to know their work was making an impact.
“It was really moving,” says Rachel Ostlund, a student at CLC. “I always heard about that people have it worse off than we do, but I never experienced or saw it firsthand.”
“Even though we spoke a different language, it was really easy to see a smile on someone’s face,” says Peterson. “Even when they’re saying thank you in a different language that I don’t understand, it’s completely understandable how much they appreciated having a stove built in half of a day.”
The trip was the first of its kind at Central Lakes College, but there are hopes that it will become a tradition that continues next year.