Monday morning I was one of the few people who didn't work on a construction site. I, along with Lauren Heath, Cailyn Tompa, Esteban Saathoff, Tristan Staley, and Donna went to a school called Madre del Buen Consejo. Lauren and I were sent to a second grade classroom to help teach some English to the kids. We walked into the room and were greeted by about 35 kids cheering and waving little American flags in the air. After all the ruckus finally died down a bit the teacher introduced us to the class. Pronouncing our names proved to be a difficult task but they got it eventually. As the kids copied the lyrics to an English counting song, the teacher pulled me aside and asked if I could help one of the students with a specific task. Juan Diego was going to read a speech in English on the Fourth of July and needed help learning the correct pronunciations. I taught him how to say words such as “independence,” “liberty,” “courage,” and “integrity.” He may not have understood exactly what he was saying, but I was still so moved by his determination and perseverance. Little did I know I would be returning to the school along with our entire Mission Trip group for a 4th of July celebration. As we filed into our seats I saw Juan Diego sitting by the side of the stage and realized his speech was not just for his class, but for the entire school and us as well. I began bouncing in my chair out of pure joy and as Juan Diego spoke I looked around to see tears in several people’s eyes. It was definitely one of the most meaningful experiences for me on this trip, and I know that a moment as pure and wonderful as that will never be forgotten.
- Allison Heredia