Tarrytown UMC- A Week of Adventure and Fulfillment
HSP just finished up a fantastic week of service with Tarrytown United Methodist Church from Austin, Texas, who brought their Youth Group down to Guatemala for their triennial trip with HSP. The team of 32 youth and 14 adults built 15 stoves in the Mam community of El Tizate, San Juan Ostuncalco, which was that community’s first time connecting with Highland Partners. The Tarrytown team planted 150 trees and carried out 4 distinct and unique MAP projects with El Tizate students as well as students from the K'iche village of Pacutama, near our community center in Santa Catarina Ixtahuacán.
Some highlights from our week:
- A small group of dedicated stove-builders decided to continue on to a 3rd day of construction to help the community receive 15 stoves instead of the original 11 planned. 4 more families in El Tizate now benefit from an improved stove!
- After the 2nd round of MAP with the Pacutama students, the day culminated into a spontaneous trash clean-up. The group decided they wanted to put forth some extra effort to tidying up the grounds of the school and a surrounding forest. With a group of 46, they were able to achieve a lot in a short amount of time. The area looked beautiful and the teachers and students were so grateful.
- Two birthdays were celebrated Guatemalan style in Xela. After a Salsa class, the birthday teens were surprised with a room ready with two piñatas and a Mariachi band, complete with delicious cake! Everyone practiced their Salsa moves after the candy was collected.
- On a foggy hike up into the hills of Santa Catarina, 2010 returning partners Brian and David, with the help of social promoter Paola Tzep, took us on a detour to the community of Chiquisis. This was where they first built stoves 6 years ago, and they wanted to revisit the special connections they had made with the place and with the people. We visited a community member named Manuela who was using her 6-year-old stove built by other partners from David and Brian's 2010 team. She was so excited to see them, totally surprised and taken aback to reconnect with Highland Partners from so long ago. When she heard that the visitors names were Brian and David, she began to laugh out loud and told us that those happened to be the names of her two sons!
- At the end of the trip Lupe, co-founder of HSP, made a statement about how being around passionate and excited youth ready to serve is a special feeling for her. It reminds her of when she was a teenager and formed a youth group in her community of Tejutla, with that same young drive and spark to create change. She said that being around excited youth fills her cup with energy and keeps her going.
We are so excited and happy to continue to grow our relationship with our Highland Partners from Tarrytown. We love you all! Thanks for a great week!