Students and leaders from a group called Young Life recently returned from a trip to El Salvador.
They worked on houses, delivering clean water, medical clinics and more. It was Genevieve Foster’s first time on the annual trip. She says the children welcomed them with open arms. “The kids were already there waiting for us. We did crafts and played with them. They loved to play soccer,” explains Genevieve.
Young Life Director Dustin Bailey says the annual trip helps students grow in faith and gives kids in El Salvador hope. He says “for a week we kind of shed away all the American values and judgments. Kids leave their cell phones at home. Their makeup at home. “
40 students from the Rochester area went on the trip. Each bringing with them bags filled with basic everyday needs like toilet paper, toothpaste, clothing, and shoes.
“I remember last year, first time, I didn’t know what to expect and these kids came and embraced me,” explains Thomas Wharton, a student on the trip. He says, “It’s not based on who you are or what you do.” Thomas Wharton says despite their differences, they form special bonds. “He’s you know 7, 8 years old. I’m 17. I’m from America. He lives in El Salvador. He has never had a pair of clean shoes and I’m spoiled beyond belief but it’s like….we’re here…we’re just hanging out…it’s unreal…it really is,” says Wharton.
Genevieve Foster says, “It’s just an amazing experience. it makes you look at the world with more of an open mind. These people have so much less than us but they’re so happy.”
Happy and grateful for the generosity of these extraordinary people.