This spring, two Compass flight attendants spent their vacation time doing something decidedly different than relaxing on a beach or catching up on sleep. Judy Champa and Sarah Perdue used their vacation time to travel to Guatemala and help build a house for a family in need.
Judy and Sarah traveled to Guatemala as part of the God’s Child Project, a non-denominational initiative dedicated to fighting poverty around the globe. God’s Child’s work in Guatemala includes the Dreamer Center in the city of Antigua, which provides health care, education, and crisis intervention services to the local population, as well as Casa Jackson, a hospital that cares for severely malnourished infants and children. God’s Child also operates a homeless shelter, an orphanage, a drug treatment center, and numerous other educational programs for impoverished children across Guatemala. Volunteers from all over the world travel to Guatemala to help God’s Child provide services ranging from feeding and rocking babies, to teaching orphans and building homes.
Judy and Sarah were part of a team of God’s Child volunteers tasked with building a home for a family, who was at the time, living in a hut made of sugarcane stalks with a dirt floor. It took a lot of hard work, but the team was able to finish the family’s new home in just three days.
On day one, the volunteers dug a trench for the house’s foundation, which was made of three layers of brick and mortar.
On day two, wood was cut to frame the house, and volunteers mixed and poured concrete for the floor. “All tools were powered by pure muscle,” Judy said. “Mixing concrete by hand is an arduous job but well worth it – a concrete floor versus a dirt floor can cut disease by up to 70%,” she added.
On day three, the volunteers put the finishing touches on the house, including the signature blue paint that identifies houses built by the God’s Child organization. A door and window were installed, as well as gutters to guide the rain away from the new home.
“Turning over the house was quite emotional for the family, as well as for volunteers,” Judy said. “The family presented each volunteer with a handmade card expressing their gratitude for their hard work.”
In addition to building the home, the volunteers took advantage of their time in Guatemala to tour the local God’s Child facilities, including the Dreamer Center and Casa Jackson. They also distributed clothing to about 200 families (clothing for donation is brought by the many volunteers in their checked bags), and served dinner to the homeless at the project’s Santa Madre Homeless Shelter.
Both Judy and Sarah plan to return to Guatemala next March, and encourage anyone interested in volunteering to join them. International volunteer work is a great fit for airline employees, as most organizations require volunteers to pay for their own airfare. Sarah and Judy used their flight benefits to fly to Guatemala, and each paid just over $50 each way. Judy flew on American (RNO/LAX/MIA/GUA), while Sarah flew American on the way there (DFW/GUA), and Delta on the way back (GUA/ATL).
To learn more about how you can get involved with this worthy organization, please visit godschild.org.