Colegio Menor’s two week community service program with the Foundation Habitat was a wonderful success. Habitat is a foundation dedicated to enforce the capacities of the less fortunate groups of people in urban areas through the construction of homes and appropriate construction techniques. Families that suffer poverty apply to be helped by the foundation and the administration revises their conditions to decide if it is necessary. The family for which the house by Colegio Menor was constructed consists of 3 members: the parents and a young girl. The first journey for the school was from April 17 to 19 and the second one was from April 24 to 26. They went to the province of Cotopaxi, specifically in a small town called Pastocalle. Pastocalle is an impoverished community of a limited number of residents. It is around an hour away from the capital and the conditions in the town are harsh.
The students arrived to a modest hotel, comfortable and adequate for the entire group. The construction place was nearby and every morning they were taken around 8:00am there. They spend all day under the sun; making holes, carrying rocks and producing cement to sustain the metal columns. They had a delicious lunch around 2:00pm and rested before starting to work again. The work instructions were mainly given by the teachers that were chaperoning the group, but the teachers do not have a wide knowledge in construction. Therefore, the people who were going to receive the house and their relatives helped and guided the construction. Also, the person from Habitat that came with the group helped them by giving them some insight of how the construction is done. When it was time to go back to the hotel, everyone was exhausted and ready to take a bath. Back in the hotel they had a great time between them until bedtime. The next morning they were all rested and excited to begin a new workday.
For me, the experience was great. I attended the program the first weekend. It was enriching for all of us. It was all about putting some of our effort to give a whole family a simple house, probably the best one they will ever have. Even if I felt completely exhausted every afternoon it was a pleasant feeling. I felt I was making something much more valuable than spending the weekend in Quito chilling in my house, doing nothing productive. It also made me appreciate everything I have and how lucky I am. The day in the construction was full of laughter and joking while working. The group for the first journey was wonderful and we had a great time together.