I was expecting a vacation when our plane, packed full of St. Michael’s missionaries, landed in Guatemala City. But after our first grueling eight-hour work day, my muscles felt as twisted and tight as the wire I used to stabilize the rebar extending from the foundation of the future Ester House. The Ester House was our construction project for the week; it was the tangible result of our hard work. The amount of work a unified team can accomplish in a few short days is incredible. Yet, even more amazing are the ways in which individuals can grow when they venture outside their comfort zones.
My personal story begins on the second day of construction, which was a Tuesday. The sun beat down on us as we labored to complete the first layer of cinderblock. After we returned from the construction site to the Oasis, which was our place of residence for the week, the afternoon soccer game began with the Guatemalan Girls. I thoroughly enjoyed the many soccer games; they were an excellent way to bond with the Guatemalan Girls, who were staying at the Oasis to recover and grow after abusive childhoods. To end that Tuesday evening, some of the team headed to the game room for ping-pong, foosball, and air-hockey. This was the typical workday for the St. Michael’s team.
On the way back to my room for bed, I heard faint music drifting down from the Guatemalan hillside. I climbed the external staircase of the one of the buildings in the compound to listen to the music unhindered by the thick cinderblock wall topped with electrically charged barbed wire surrounding the compound. From above the wall, I stood mesmerized by the harmonious music with its smooth Spanish lyrics riding on the chilly summer breeze. I could see a small tin building from which the music and fluorescent light poured out of wide seams between the thin walls. The small enclosure sat nestled between lush trees and a dilapidated concrete building, nearly 500 yards from the Oasis Compound. I was lulled by the tune for several minutes before sleep and weariness drew me back to the dorm for sleep.
Part one of three. More tomorrow.