keys to house

Corinne Ellsworth presents the keys to a Guatemalan family for a simple lock on their new house.

Submitted photo

Corinne Ellsworth of Lower Montague has been making mission trips to Guatemala for five years and this time she will be joined by three other Islanders.

Ms Ellsworth along with Reverend Bonnie Fraser, Melva O’Connor and Eric Ellsworth are preparing for a trip to Parramos, Guatemala in April where they will team up with a contingent of volunteers to build houses for families who live in the surrounding rural areas.

The 12-foot x 14-foot abodes are two room structures that replace houses made of cornstalk or sugar cane, Ms Ellsworth said.

“It is in a very rural area in the mountains and it gets dark around 6 pm regardless of the season because they are so close to the equator,” she explained.

“After the sun goes down it gets quite cool and the people are sleeping on the ground in their current dwellings.”

This practice, particularly in the rainy season, creates unhealthy living conditions and the people are more susceptible to being infected by parasites.

However, houses built by the mission are on raised concrete platforms with wooden walls and a tin roof.

“The design is very basic, but for them it is very important because it gives them shelter,” Ms Ellsworth said.

Their health improves immensely, she added.

The volunteer-built houses are sponsored by donors with the help of volunteers through The Arms of Jesus Mission based in Pickering, Ontario.

This year three houses will be built - Gary Tesselaar House, by Margie and family and Hillcrest House 2 and Albert Ellsworth House by Chris and the Ellsworth family.

This will be the second house sponsored by Hillcrest, one being built in 2018.

The organization, has built well over 1,000 homes and runs a school in the region where children are also sponsored by donors, giving them not only access to education, but nutritious meals.

Before the Island volunteers embark on their journey a fundraising concert will be held at Hillcrest United Church in Montague to help fund food hampers for the families as well as the purchase of shoes for the students at the mission school.

On Sunday, February 16 at the church, on Wood Islands Hill, the public is invited to an evening of entertainment beginning at 7 pm.

A presentation on the mission will also be on the agenda. Admission is a free will offering.

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