Hard work and fun in Guatemala

Katie McClurg

While many teens were relaxing by lakes or hanging out with friends this past June, 47 eager juniors and seniors, over a two week period, went on a mission trip led by Ms. Katie McDonald and Ms. Nicole Rasmussen to an orphanage in San Andres, Guatemala.

This was the third year students have had the opportunity to go on the mission trip, which was started by Mrs. Lidibette Rosado-Guzman, but Ms. McDonald had helped each year with the trip. “While the children are at school we are helping around the orphanage with different projects,” she said, and once school is over the students get a chance to bond with the kids through playing games, doing crafts, and talking with them.

This trip not only benefits the orphanage but can be a life-changing experience for the students and chaperones who choose to go. Ms. McDonald says it has taught her the importance of reaching out to others all over the world and that “the greatest thing is to watch students that I know to go through a change. Even parents notice how their kids have been affected by the trip and have told Ms. McDonald that they are more helpful around the house when they come back and more thankful for the things that they have.

Annemarie Hittler, one of the students who went on the trip and didn’t even speak Spanish, thought that one of the coolest things was that “you didn’t even need language to communicate and interact with the kids.” She thought it was a great experience and would recommend the trip to anyone who has the opportunity to go.

Yusef McNulty and Claire Anderson-Norblom, two other seniors who went on the trip, both agreed that although the trip was really fun it was also hard work. While the kids were in school they helped build a stadium for a soccer tournament that the orphanage was hosting, which Anderson-Norblom said, “was strenuous because you were always moving and doing something, you never really had a chance to stop working.”

At the orphanage they ate a lot of rice, bread, and tortillas and although the food wasn’t up to what the students were used to as McNulty said, “it wasn’t bad.” Yet the best part of the trip, according to Anderson-Norblom was eating meals with the kids: “It was fun sitting with them; you always found your little crew that you bonded with.”

Although many of the students were greatly affected by the trip, Ms. McDonald and Hittler both agree that is hard to come back. Ms. McDonald said, “I think kids change on the trip, but I think it’s hard for all of us to continue to live in that manner when we return.”

Although Ms. McDonald will not be leading the trip next year because she will be doing some other volunteer efforts of her own, a mission trip to Guatemala will be led by Mrs. Guzman next summer.