Position: Vision Team Coordinator
Time with Common Hope: 3 months
Favorite Guatemalan Cuisine: Hilachas or caracoles (delicious cream-filled pastries)
Travel Essential: A headlamp
What has surprised you most about working with us?
My favorite aspect of Common Hope is that we are an organization that doesn’t just talk the talk but walks the walk. The best example of that, to me, is orientation for new staff. For two weeks during orientation, I met with someone from every department at Common Hope, from cleaning staff to sponsorship staff, and I spent time doing what they do every day. It just goes to show that from the moment you enter a Common Hope site, you are living the principal that no one is more important than anybody else, no matter your job, house, or education.
What is a new skill you have learned?
There are so many skills I’ve learned while living here, but I think the most fun for me is flagging down buses. To catch a bus in Guatemala, you find any corner where the bus will pass and then you hail it like a taxi. And once you’re on the bus, be prepared to hold on, because you never know if the driver is an aspiring NASCAR racer. It was a tough skill for me to learn, since I’m used to designated stops, but I appreciate that it adds a little adventure to my day.
Has anything happened during your time here that will make your life different?
I am always impacted by the final day of the house build when we get to hear the family’s story. One of my favorites is of 15-year-old Hector, who gave up his two-month school vacation to work at Common Hope every day to earn a house for his family. He took on the task so that his mother could be at home to take care of his brothers. To see his face when he put the final nail into the roof is something that I’ll never forget. It’s not often that a 15 year old teaches an adult the meaning of resilience, hard work, and humility. Hector was a really great teacher for me.
How did you come to volunteer at Common Hope?
I worked in Honduras last year and had the chance to visit Guatemala for two weeks during that time. I fell in love with the kind people and knew I wanted to come back. As I was searching for jobs in Guatemala, I happened upon Common Hope and was immediately drawn to the mission and focus on education. I count myself so lucky to have found it, because I am impressed and inspired every day by the staff and families we work with. I am proud to be a part of Common Hope!
What do you want people back home to know about your experience here?
I’m from Colorado, and since Common Hope began in Minnesota, not many people know about it where I’m from. So above all, I want them to learn about Common Hope and what we do. Hopefully, they’ll get excited to visit and get involved, just like I was.