Volunteering in the developing world is a memorable and rewarding experience, especially at age 15. Jokichi Matsubara helped to make a difference in Guatemala, where a new home is perhaps the greatest gift of all. He documented his time working in the third world, and published his work when he returned. His is an inspirational story made possible by the magic created when
people help people.
“I stepped inside the rusty metal doorway and was shocked at what I saw. It was a patch of ground with stray roots sprouting up, and a tiny metal cabin where they slept. Inside, the 10X5 foot space was a small fireplace and a couple of pots and pans which they used to cook their meals. This tiny room housed 5 people! Normally where they would sleep was now taken over by the concrete packages which had to be kept dry. There also was an enclosed ditch on the property covered up by banana leaves; it was a toilet! It was a pretty dismal situation.
We began work pretty soon, and we also found out that a number of workers already started on Friday to lay the groundwork and measure. I was put on wire duty, in which I had to cut steel rebar to secure the concrete.
There was this one boy who was really cute who kept on asking me what I was doing. He then chased after this dog and played with him, for he was easily distracted. We busily worked the first day, measuring, cutting, and finally digging ditches for the cement. My shoes were so full of dirt, that my white socks were brown when I got home.
The next day we were back at it again. This time it wasn’t as awkward and I felt a little better talking to the other English speaking workers. At lunch time, we took a break and it began to rain really hard. We took shelter under a tin roof that was set up and waited. I don’t know who came up with the idea, but somehow we decided to play BS, the card game. (I don’t know if you are familiar with the game, but basically you play cards face down, and if people think you are lying then they say BS.”
Written by Jokichi Matsubara, aspiring travel writer.