Chesterton Tribune



CHS students help make a difference in Guatemala

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Spring break for seven Chesterton High School students meant a world of difference not only in the weather, but also in the experiencing how giving to others and doing for others can result in a feeling of accomplishment and a “job well done.”

Cathy Dean, CHS teacher of International Baccalaureate Psychology, and her husband Bill, accompanied students Samantha Carpenter, Sereen Haddadin, Tony Ketcham, Lauren Lecy, Emily Percifield, Bethany Van Drie, and Dana Wickenden on a mission trip to Guatemala.

The trip began at 1:00 a.m. on a Saturday morning and ended the following Saturday night. Students learned what it was like to live in a dirt-floor home and cook food over an open fire. They helped a doctor provide dental services to the people of a local village; they planted Moringa trees; played with the children.

They also made room in their luggage to take purchased and donated items to the people of Livingston, just outside of El Faro, Guatemala. The town was founded centuries ago when a slave ship sank and the survivors managed to make it to shore.

One of the highlights for a few of the students was swimming in the ocean with a domesticated river otter, Lola, which was the pet of one of the villagers. Sereen Haddadin wrote in her blog, “Lola loved to sneak up on us and attack our hands and feet and cling to us when we tried to move. I fell in love with Lola in that hour.”

A challenge/ropes course was also a highlight. Nestled in a beautiful green jungle-like setting at the camp is a beautiful tower that connects free swinging bridges of ropes, tires, and wood slats. All harnessed in and wearing helmets, the students and adults took to the course.

Emily Percifield wrote, “Sam was pretty much a goddess at the ropes course and put us all to shame!” Log on to to see the amazing pictures.

Day three blog from Lauren Lecy: “All of us had different jobs today. Sereen, Mrs. Dean, Bethany, and I took turns being dental assistants, which consisted of holding tools and preparing syringes for the dentists to use. Bethany and I have a huge lead in the sunburn competition, which is just fabulous for us. Last night at church, Peter, the leader of the camp, called us “shrimp ladies” and said a special prayer for our skin. We’ve been laughing a lot and just having a wonderful time, but it’s all going by too fast.”

Bethany Van Drie wrote, “I feel so alive when I meet these people who are so thankful and gracious and kind and still love God even though they live in terrible conditions. Daily challenges in Indiana seem totally minute compared to poverty and homelessness and human trafficking and drug addictions and guerillas and gangs and disease.”

To read more, visit and also the Mision El Faro facebook page.


Posted 4/3/2014




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