A Rotary youth team spent 10 days in Guatemala installing stoves in a remote village.
The Rotary clubs of Haney and Burlington, Wash. sent a group of seven students to install the stoves in a remote village in Guatemala called Chiblak Palmira south of the Mexican border.
Youth Experiencing Service - the Y.E.S. project - was a success thanks to cooperation with the non-governmental organization Hands for Peacemaking in Barillas who assisted with qualifying, transportation, and coordinating the project.
The local youth who were selected and participated worked for 10 months, planning, goal setting, volunteering more than 100 hours each and fundraised to make the trip possible with the ongoing mentorship of their Rotary clubs.
This program has been running for five years consecutively at the Rotary Club of Burlington, Wash. thanks to Beverly Harrington.
The Haney Rotary decided to pilot this project for 2012.
With the passion and guidance of Harrington, Rotarians Keesha Rosario
and Ken Holland will now be engaging additional Rotary clubs on behalf of Haney Rotary in the region of District 5050 to expand the number of regional participants of this project for next year.
The program focuses on three main avenues of service for Rotary including new generations, community service, and an international focus.
Devin Smith, a Grade 11 student from Maple Ridge, experienced Guatemala and is interested in starting a local Interact Club with the help of mentor Ken Holland.
She described the experience as "lifechanging in a sense, but it was more eye-opening to see what they already did have that made them happy, which was love and friendship,"
"It makes you rethink about your life back home and the material things don't seem as important anymore," she added.
Local Rotarians Rosario and Holland accompanied the youth to Guatemala.
Rosario said she fell in love with the people of Guatemala.
"The love and patience of the villagers was humbling, teaching me more about tolerance and respect and the importance of family in a way I will never forget," she said.
She added she also misses the youth who went on the trip, especially the "daily meals and conversations."