Student Testimonial: Jessie Hammers
Jessie Hammers is a Sophomore from Keuka College. She spent her winter break here in El Sauce working with 4 Walls project constructing houses.
My trip to Nicaragua definitely exceeded all of my expectations. For one, I didn’t realize that I was going to make lasting friendships with people who I don’t even share the same language with. At first it was hard to communicate and almost awkward but as the time went on I was able to bond with the children and others through different forms of communicating like facial expressions and gestures and it was amazing.
One thing that truly caught my attention was definitely the generosity of the people in Nicaragua, especially the family who we were building for. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard someone tell me that I take stuff for granted or that I don’t know how good I have it but I didn’t realize how good that I actually do have it and how much I do take for granted. I encountered so many people who literally had the clothes on their back and maybe a couple small possessions and yet they were still willing to give me anything and everything that they possibly could. For example, at our house site, Paula brought us fresh bananas every single day. It was such a small gesture, but knowing she didn’t have much to give and still offered us the fruit was just incredible. It really opened my eyes and made me realize that I need to be more generous and more thankful for the things that I have because I have so much to offer up to people but I was too selfish to do so. I also realized that I really need to stop complaining about things that really aren’t problems at all.
It really touched me after hearing the reason why our family wanted a brick house to be built because they didn’t have a stable enough house that would be able to protect their children and grandchildren from the rocks being thrown at their house. That was only one of the things that made me think about how fortunate I actually am. Another thing I found so eye opening was that this family was so thankful and happy to have a twenty by twenty foot brick house with dirt floors and no fancy furniture. They were going to have nine people living in that house and they couldn’t be more happy to have that.
Something else that really made me open my eyes was when we played soccer with Angelina, Rosibel, Uriel and Abel. The first time we played, they had a flat soccer ball and would play down on a dirt field with goals that were made out of rocks and they just had so much fun and didn’t want to stop. The next day we decided to get them two brand new soccer balls from a store and brought them and they were so grateful. One of the boys looked like he could have cried because he was so thankful for a soccer ball that cost less than five dollars. That was truly moving. I have played soccer since I was five years old but I have never played on a dirt field without real goals. I have always had the newest cleats and equipment but I have never had as much fun playing soccer as I did with those kids. Just thinking about that fills me with joy and I’m so glad we were able to connect with the kids through an activity that I do back home.
Overall this trip had such a positive influence on my life and I’m so blessed that I was able to go on this trip and meet so many incredible people and have some memories that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I learned so many lessons here that I would have never been able to anywhere else and I am truly thankful for the opportunity.