What did students learn from TECHO?

After our build and some much needed rest, I regrouped with students from the TECHO to debrief, reflect and plan. I’m excited about the plans for our new TECHO club at ASFG, fundraising possibilities and most of all, the energy that the students brought back with them. Here is a snapshot of what students learned, straight from their personal reflections on the experience of building homes with TECHO.

BASIC Life Skills:

How to use a hammer

  • “I loved the part when we had to hammer the floor since the whole team was helping out and it was fun in general to use a hammer.” (Grade 9 Student)

How to physically push your body and be amazed to see how far it can go

  • “My physical experience in TECHO was without a doubt, the most fatiguing job I have ever done in my life. But aside from being tiring, it was also an amazing experience. Every time I finished breaking a rock, or finished placing a pilote (foundation pillar), I felt an amazing feeling of accomplishment.” (Grade 10 Student)

How to work in a team

  • “The build was hard, but even through the toughest part I could feel a great sense of community, one that helped me keep going . All the kids in my cuadrilla (building team) were very helpful, motivated and interesting, which certainly made the build memorable.” (Grade 9 Student)
  • “I feel super satisfied with the team work, and satisfied because of the face of the mother of the family to live in the new TECHO house. With her smile and the tears in her eyes, I felt that all the work was done for that smile and joy.” (Grade 11 Student)
  • “My overall feeling of the build was amazed. I was amazed with my abilities in group work and getting dirty.” (Grade 11 Student)

How to be a leader

  • “During the build, I started out somewhat nervous. When I realized that the terrain was extremely complicated, I was not sure what to tell the members of the cuadrilla (building team) to do. When we struggled so much to break or remove the giant rock, I started to feel somewhat hopeless at times. I tried not to show it because I knew that it might have discouraged everyone else. When we solved the challenges and were done with pilotes (foundation pillars), I was excited and energetic for the rest of the build.” (Grade 12 Student)

How to stay motivated and positive despite difficult challenges

  • “The first day I was elated to start building, but when I realized that we had to dig one meter of dirt to level the ground, I felt defeated since it felt eternal but I kept going even though my whole body felt it was about to break apart. At the end of the first day when we had to walk the 200 stairs, I almost gave up since I couldn’t feel my legs. The next two days, I felt optimistic since I knew we were almost done with the hardest part of the house.” (Grade 9 Student)

How to appreciate and be grateful for the things we have

  • “It made me realize how much more I need to be thankful and appreciate how lucky I am to live how I live and to be how I am. I used to not appreciate how hard my parents worked when I was younger, I always wanted more than what I had. This experience made me realize how lucky I am and made me be more thankful.” (Grade 9 Student)

BIGGER Life Views:

See how a greater percentage of the world lives

  • “It was not the first time I saw such living conditions, but I still felt grieved by the sole existence of this places. It also made me think, and ponder about the reason of poverty, and I felt curious about what the family thought and felt about their own life.” (Grade 10 Student)

Get to know people outside of their socio-economic sphere and subsequently, understand the cycle of poverty

  • “I leave TECHO more aware of the condition my country and city is in. I also leave with a knowledge about the family. I had the opportunity to lead the team in the construction, and I was able to put a lot of my ideas to work. I met a lot of new people, made friends, helped out in an immeasurable way a family with scarce resources.” (Grade 12 Student)

Realize that most of our daily problems are not so big compared to others’ problems

  • “Even though it sounds cliché I really did take a look around my life and saw how much I truly had and how much I do take for granted. The “problems” I have in my life now didn’t seem that big after all.” (Grade 9 Student)
  • “Another feeling I was having was guilt since I just returned to my house knowing that I was going to be able to take a long hot shower and sleep in a comfortable bed when there are people near me struggling to survive everyday.” (Grade 9 Student)

Think about and become motivated to end poverty

  • “Deep down I felt guilty for never really realizing how much poverty exists near me, and decided to take action on stop poverty.”  (Grade 9 Student)
  • “Since the very beginning I expected a poor community with problems in every way. And I thought that I wouldn’t be impressed or shocked because I expected it, but once I got to see it with my own eyes everything changed. I started to feel sorrow for the people and in a way I felt out of place. It was as if everything was too much. I started to have a feeling or a need to work so that I could help as much as possible.” (Grade 9 Student)

Learn outside the box

  • “The aspect that I took home from this experience that I felt very proud of was meeting two persons that have gone through so much and still had a smile all the time I was by their side. The couple treated us with respect and gave us way more that I had ever expected. From them I learned building skills, meaning for life and stories about everything. I knew that this was the most important aspect for me because since I got home from the trip I told everything about this married couple to my parents. These people have taught me so much in such a little time span, and what they taught me are lessons that we don’t learn in school.” (Grade 9 Student)

And at the end of the day…

“I also take away an experience that will follow me for a long time and that will help me get motivated to make a change in the world.” (Grade 9 Student)

Students ready to face the world and make a difference