Colombia House Building #6: Meaningful Experiences

Reid ’26, reflects on the meaning of his time in Colombia, and comes to realize that by sharing his story, “others will work to enhance the lives of those around them.”

As we near the end of our trip, we have started to ask more complex questions and began to think about what we will do with the knowledge we have gained. During a break from preparing land for a concrete foundation to be poured, we had an opportunity to ask questions that have arisen across the week to Gloria, an employee at Catalina Muñoz. After someone asked to learn more about the processes that families go through with the foundation, we learned that a key aspect of the experience is to teach the families how to save money so that they can continue to succeed afterwards. By asking the families to contribute to the cost of the construction, they get used to making monthly payments that when the work is paid off can be used to continue enhancing the quality of their lives. The family that we worked with today included two kids that were eager to help with the labor and curious to listen in on our conversation. At one point, the eldest, a twelve year old girl asked about Deerfield Academy, the resources it provides to students and eventually about nearby organizations that provide scholarships for kids like her so that she could grow up to become an English teacher.

As the conversation began to wrap up, Gloria shared about the way one group of volunteers provided a lot of help to a family by staying in touch, and said “It is hard to change the whole world, but easy to change the world of a single person.” As we leave Colombia behind and get into our summer breaks, we will all remember the ways that we have changed the worlds of the three families we worked with and share our story in hopes that others will work to enhance the lives of those around them.