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My TECHO experience
Benjamin Hokenson

From March 18 to 21, I traveled with TECHO to Costa Rica to help build homes for people in an area called Alajuela.

TECHO, Spanish for "roof," is a youth-led nonprofit organization that builds homes for people living in extreme poverty. It also promotes community development, social awareness and changes in infrastructure to decrease poverty. Their ultimate goal is to rid the world of poverty.

During the trip, I learned the challenges that people face, such as living in an extremely hot climate, going long periods of time without rain, and living in inadequate homes. One of the greatest challenges in Alajuela is that their floors are made of dirt, which means that when it rains, their floors turn to mud. This can cause disease and unsanitary living conditions.

The homes that we built are a symbol of hope and give the owners motivation to create better living situations for themselves. What changed me most about the trip was the opening ceremony. Once we finished building the house, we had a housewarming where we all spoke about how the trip affected us. During this ceremony, I realized how much of an impact building one house makes. I dried my eyes and said how I felt about the trip, and since then, I have been a different person. I believe that everyone should go on a trip like this to gain a new understanding of the world.

Any person that has a similar opportunity should seize it without hesitation. The opportunity to do a building trip should be taken for many reasons, but the most important one is that a person that goes on a trip is doing something kind for another person and spreading happiness around. We are the ones that can change the world. So why not? I believe that everyone, that is able to, should go on a TECHO trip and help change the world. We were put on this Earth to make a difference, so why not leave a lasting legacy of changing the world for the better.

Watch Ben's time lapse video from Costa Rica >

-Benjamin Hokenson, II Form

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