Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Rosa Dest Interiors in Guatemala 2018


Our trip was sponsored by Catalyst Resources International, an amazing organization that helps the residents of Guatemala, by building homes, creating feeding programs, and offering both medical and dental services.

I am crazy about traveling, meeting new people, and learning about different cultures. 
Recently, I had the opportunity to join a mission trip to Guatemala with my husband (Rich), and colleagues Kandrac & Kole from Atlanta. 
We left, although hesitantly, a week after Volcano Fuego erupted.

My friends, Joann Kandrac & Kelly Kole, make this trip to Guatemala annually to build a house for those in need. For this particular trip, our group was able to raise $5000, thanks to donations from family & friends, gathered items from a shoe drive, and collected toothbrushes and toothpaste from our friends at Colgate. Beyond thrilled with the donations, we could not wait to provide these items to those who needed them.
We made our way to the village of Santa Maria de Jesus, to build a home for a family of 10. With the donation provided, we were able to build a two bedroom house with a private bathroom, along with a new stove, bunk beds, and groceries. 

Pictured (above) is our devoted team with the family, standing on the foundation of their new house. They were responsible for building the foundation, and we were responsible for building the home in four days. 

This tight-knit family lives in a tiny little shack with dirt floors and two beds. Their kitchen, another dirt floor shack, was made of bamboo and consisted of a small table and hot plate for cooking. Their current bathroom, an outhouse, was also made of bamboo, dirt floors, and offered NO privacy. 

In getting to know the mother, Maria, I learned that her husband, Gaspar, works in Guatemala City selling fruits and vegetables. Because of the expense of the daily two-hour commute, Gaspar takes the bus into the city every Sunday morning at two and returns the following Saturday. Maria explained that the money he saves from the bus fare is used to feed the children. 
This certainly puts the struggles of poverty into perspective for me. 
Despite their struggles, I was so impressed with how happy and peaceful this family lives. 
Maria and Gaspar share the property with their daughter and her two children, Maria's eighty-eight-year-old mother, and Maria's sister. All homes are built similar in style and description, and each is right next door to one another. The family works as a unit; washing clothes, cooking, and protecting the children and one another. 

I was honored to be invited and eager to come on this trip to work and serve as the translator; making the experience more meaningful for our team and for the family.

Here we are raising the first wall of the house

Here is a video that shows the excitement centered around the construction of the house.

Here is a video that gives you a perspective of where and how the family lives and whats to come.

Look how far we were able to get, and it's only Day 1!

Day 2, we started the process of planning and creating their new bathroom.

Their old bathroom is behind the stone structure,
with a piece of fabric for the door.

Rafael, the foreman standing inside the new bathroom, is explaining to Maria what the new bathroom will look like.

 Rafael and I planning and designing the layout of the new bathroom
Our blueprint designed the old fashion way: common sense, a pencil, and a slab of wood. 

In just 2 days a beautiful new bathroom was built, offering more space and much more privacy.

Their bathroom includes a new toilet, a shower stall, and all concrete flooring.
Abuelita (grandmother) could not have been happier!

As I mentioned earlier, our team managed to raise enough money to also provide them with a new stove. The new stove was quite an upgrade from the hot plate and their grate over a stack of wood. The new stove also includes ventilation, which will improve the quality of the air they breathe while cooking.

Rafael putting the finishing touches on the new stove. The stove uses less wood, which is an added benefit, as they will no longer need to gather wood daily in order to cook.

I am explaining to the family, and our group, how to operate the new stove. 
Truly amazing. 
This stove reminded me of an induction cooktop, and I couldn't help but wonder if this cooktop to Maria, is what a Wolf cooktop is to us.

While the team continued to work hard on finishing the house, Dr. Dest (Rich) distributed toothbrushes and toothpaste and gave everyone a lesson on how to properly brush their teeth. 
He sure was lucky that I was there to translate ;).  
Needless to say, all of the kids were in awe.

Thank you again, Colgate, for spreading your love across the world to a much-needed community.

And just like that, four days passed, and the house was complete.
Magic happens when a team truly works together.
It also doesn't hurt to have a couple of designers thrown into the mix ;).

Beth, Lacefield Designs, a trade partner and a member of our construction crew, donated these beautiful custom drapes to add privacy to the two new bedrooms.


On Day 4, we presented the house to a very happy and humbled family. 
Chino, their dog, immediately found his new spot on their new front porch.

I don't know where mom and dad plan to sleep,
but these kids wasted no time claiming which bed was theirs.

For them, this is the first time sleeping on a mattress and these pictures say it all.

I am filled to the brim with happiness at the opportunity this trip provided.
The memories we created with our team and this special family, is unlike anything we could have ever hoped to experience.

Thank you again to my friends, Kandrac & Kole, for inviting me, to Catalyst Resources International for sponsoring the trip, and to all of you who donated - this would not have been possible if it wasn't for you.


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