Trustees for the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario (CDSBEO) enjoyed an inspirational report during their May 19 teleconference session. CDSBEO student trustee Josephine Purcell reported on the annual Guatemala Service trip in February, during which 30 students from CDSBEO schools helped on community service projects in the little village of Anibal Archila.
“The main goal was to begin building the final roads in the village, and to paint over 100 houses for the inhabitants of the village,” Purcell told trustees. “Each group brought along plenty of donations, which were used to make care packages to share with those in the village who need it the most.”
Students from St. Francis Xavier Catholic High School in Hammond and from St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Secondary School in Russell were part of this year’s Guatemala Services group. The annual overseas aid project, in cooperation with One By One: The Latin America Project, is a CDSBEO program that focuses on the virtue of the Good Samaritan parable, and Canada’s responsibility to assist other countries when they need help.
Students worked on a village road project, using interlock paving stones, to help reduce muddy conditions during the Guatemalan wet season and also reduce dust problems during the dry season. During their stay, students also visited a local clinic and decided to pool the money they had available to offer as a donation for the clinic’s expansion needs.
The students developed strong friendships with the families of the village. “The minute we arrived, we were welcomed with a great celebration,” stated Purcell, “that included music, refreshments, and fireworks. They (villagers) willingly shared many parts of their culture with us, even though we had just met them.”
Photos of the Guatemala Service trip are on the One By One Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/OneByOneTheLatinAmericaProject/.