Wolver­ines meet spon­sor child, build homes in Gu­atemala

Spon­sored Juana for last nine years, fi­nally meet her on re­cent trip

The Compass - - News - BY CHRIS LEWIS chris.lewis@tc.tc

The North­east Avalon Wolver­ines re­cently left the harsh New­found­land win­ter to help the needy in Gu­atemala.

The Wolver­ines, based out of Bay Roberts, trav­elled from March 4-12.

Dur­ing their time in the city of An­tigua, 10 mem­bers of the Wolver­ines Search and Res­cue group, along with two lead­ers, helped build homes, and pro­vide for the com­mu­nity in any way they could.

Perry Bow­er­ing, a mem­ber of the Wolver­ines, says the en­tire ex­pe­ri­ence was some­thing he’ll never for­get.

The Wolver­ines have been spon­sor­ing a girl, Juana, from An­tigua for the last nine years. Juana is now 13-years-old.

Dur­ing the trip, the Wolver­ines got the chance to meet Juana for the first time. Bow­er­ing says that this is one of the main rea­sons the Wolver­ines de­cided to make the trip.

“When we met (Juana’s) fam­ily, we asked her mom if there was any­thing she needed. She told us Juana would like to have a new bike,” said Bow­er­ing. “So, we went to a re­ally nice store in An­tigua to pick up a brand new bike. A cou­ple days later, we got to go right to her house be­fore she left for school. When she came out through the door, we pre­sented her with her new bike. She was beyond ex­cited.”

The group built eight houses dur­ing their stay in the Cen­tral Amer­i­can coun­try.

The homes were built with what the peo­ple of Gu­atemala know as ply­rock, which Bow­er­ing ex­plained to be a cross be­tween ply­wood and gyprock.

“It’s not what you’d ex­pect for a house around here,” said Bow­er­ing. “The way it’s built is more like what we’d look at as a shed, but to them, it’s a man­sion.”

The houses, once built, would also be fur­nished by the Wolver­ines, fol­lowed by a bless­ing, which in­volved a se­lect few verses from the Bi­ble, and some words on be­half of the fam­ily. Each home built was given a cross, upon which the name of the fam­ily was writ­ten, along with the per­son, peo­ple, or busi­ness that spon­sored build­ing the home.

Spe­cial cer­e­mony

Along with the houses, the Wolver­ines also took part in a foot wash­ing cer­e­mony. Dur­ing this cer­e­mony, mem­bers of the Wolver­ines sat down with a child to wash their feet in a pan of water. After the wash­ing, the chil­dren were pre­sented with new pairs of socks and a new pair of leather shoes.

“In or­der to at­tend a pub­lic school, you need to have a pair of shoes, which not everyone there has,” ex­plained Bow­er­ing. “So if you only have a cou­ple pairs of shoes be­tween a big fam­ily, some kids will go to school in the morn­ing with a pair of shoes, come home, and give them to one of their sib­lings so that they could go to school in the af­ter­noon.”

At the end of the week, 80 chil­dren had new shoes.

Arms of Je­sus, an evan­gel­i­cal min­istry based out of On­tario, made ham­pers of food for the Wolver­ines to give to the peo­ple of An­tigua as well. Bow­er­ing said these ham­pers, weigh­ing in at around 60-70 pounds each, fed 35 fam­i­lies. Along with this, the Wolver­ines brought 32 hockey bags filled with sup­plies in­clud­ing medicine, cloth­ing, school sup­plies and sheets for their beds.

Bow­er­ing said the work the Wolver­ines did is likely to have a long-last­ing im­pact on the peo­ple of An­tigua, ex­plain­ing that once you leave the main part of the city, a lot of res­i­dents are in dire straits. Many lived un­der tin houses or tarps, cook­ing over open flames in­side their shel­ters, and shar­ing sin­gle beds with up to four or five peo­ple.

Bow­er­ing said that al­though an ex­act date is not set in stone, the Wolver­ines plan to head back to Gu­atemala some­time in 2019.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

The North­east Avalon Wolver­ines with a fam­ily from An­tigua.

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