By Cate Marchetti
Ask any Hanover High School student about their idea of the Caribbean, and they will assuredly gush about swimming with dolphins and giant sea turtles, laying in the sand at a world class resort, or horseback riding next to the gorgeous cerulean blue sea. Growing up in in a relatively affluent region of the world, our view of Latin America and the Caribbean Islands is jaded by the pristine and secure tourist destinations students in Hanover have visited on cruises or over February break, or have seen on television. Were we to venture outside of the perfectly trimmed and polished gated communities of the hotels, however, many people would be shocked by the poverty of the vast majority living in that area of the world. In Latin America, 57 million people live on less than one dollar a day, and in Guatemala only 48 percent of children are enrolled in primary schools as a result of having to work to help support their families.
In July 2014, a group of 10 Hanover High School Student Council members and chaperones will take part in a week-long service trip through the organization Mir Pace to the rural village of Tamahú, Guatemala. Indigenous Mayan families living in Tamahú are struggling to grow enough food just to nourish their own families, and, to make matters worse, were struck recently by the tropical storm Agatha, destroying much of the village’s food supply. Student Council members partaking in the trip will assist in home construction and repairs in addition to sanitation projects to help improve water quality and prevent diseases. A community garden project will help to feed people of the village during the off-harvest of the coffee season, when the risk for starvation is at its highest. In an educational respect, the students will interact with the children attending local schools. Through students’ efforts, the people of Tamahú will have a more comfortable and safer life.
This summer will mark the first service trip Hanover High School has participated in. Organized by the senior class vice president Emma Stone and Mr. Hegarty, HHS will join many surrounding towns such as Scituate and Hingham in their efforts to better the world at an international level. I became interested in the trip because it was something new and different. I love learning about new cultures, and being able to experience another part of the world in a safe and beneficial way sounded like the perfect opportunity. I can not wait to help the people of Tamahú and experience what it is like to live among them!
The total cost for the service project is $2,000 per student.To fund raise for the trip, Student Council members have hosted a successful soccer clinic at the Synergy Sports Complex and plan to take part in a “dough-raisers” campaign at Papa Gino’s Pizza and Uno’s Pizzeria on Tuesday, March 4th. The group had also started a page on gofundme.com and all profits collected will benefit the group as a whole.
If interested in donating or learning more about the organization, go to www.mirpace.org