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Market-Based Solutions to Vital Economic Issues
News & Media
Apr 2, 2020

Kenan Scholars Spend Spring Break Building Homes in Guatemala

By Jessie LaMasse, Kenan Scholar Class of 2021

Spending my spring break building homes for impoverished families in Antigua, Guatemala was truly a life changing experience! Not only did I endure the physical labor of carrying supplies across a mountain side and mixing concrete by hand, but I also gained raw exposure to a cross-cultural community initiative. Working alongside my fellow Kenan Scholars, Nikita Billman and Anna Manocha, we collaborated with From Houses to Homes (FHTH) to best understand and serve the needs of Antigua’s community.

From Houses to Homes is a Guatemalan lead non-profit that builds concrete homes in rural communities and takes the necessary steps towards ending the cycle of poverty. The poorest families in Guatemala lack the necessary resources to build homes that can withstand weather conditions, causing poor health conditions and a lack of security and dignity. FHTH is unique in that the families also gain access to free healthcare at the San José Medical Clinic, and education at Escuela Kemna’Oj.

In just five days, our team completed building two homes for single mothers whose husbands had abandoned them and their children. We spent the week communicating in Spanish with locals, learning first-hand about their culture and living conditions. After all our hard work, we took a group hiking trip up volcano Acatenango. Here, I was left in awe watching the sunrise next to an active volcano and reminded once again how meaningful life can be. Thanks to the Kenan Scholars, Nikita, Anna and I were able to serve families in need, gain cultural competencies and deepen our appreciation of the world — all in just one week.

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