Acts of service come in many forms.
This past week I traveled to the tight-knit community of Santiago Atitlan in remote Guatemala.
Here lies ADISA, the unique organization that serves the mentally and physically disabled of the regions with physical and speech therapy, work skills training, and a general level of community love and support that is hard to put into words.
Joining a group of my fellow Pi Kappa Phi Brothers on their spring break from college, we constructed a cinder block addition and freshened existing facades with lively shades of sunny yellow and orange paint.
We also tackled a neglected vacant lot filled with large rocks, tree stumps, and endless debris. Using basic hand tools of shovels, picks, and rakes, we worked in rotation to clear and grade an apparently hopeless lot, molding it into one where ADISA members will soon wash cars to generate a source of income.
In exchange for our three dust and sweat-filled days of labor, we received Spanish and construction lessons with nods of approval and laughter from the ADISA construction manager, Luis. We watched in awe lessons on strength and grit from our bus conductor, Olegario “El Tigre,” who chose to spend his ‘time off’ of driving to guide us on the effective and efficient use of hand tools. We received hearty lunches with an endless supply of hand-formed corn tortillas all prepared over an open fire from the quiet, smiling ladies.
We heard personal stories of tragedy and resiliency from local ADISA client, Jose, told from his wheelchair and translated eloquently into English by CEDEPCA ambassador, Esvin. And each evening at dinner, our Pi Kapp leader, psychologist Dr. Chris Grant, skillfully reflected the day’s experiences into lessons on personal hardiness and accountability nurtured by assuming the attitudes of challenge, commitment, and control.
Meaningful work and travel outside of one’s comfort zone lead to meaningful stories and purposeful lives. The transformation in Santiago Atitlan occurred not only in a vacant lot but also in the hearts and minds of my Brothers in Pi Kappa Phi. Thank you for considering a donation in generous support in making this event a recurring reality.