Jackie Rinkus’ El Salvador Trip Experience
In the summer of 2013, my mother dragged me along with her on a mission trip to El Salvador. I fought her long and hard for many days because I just didn’t want to go. However, I did not realize how big of an impact the trip would have on my life. Now, in the summer of 2016, I am on the plane returning from my second trip to El Salvador. Not only was I lucky enough to spend this trip with my mother, but I was able to share this experience with some of the lovely people of St. John’s parish. In one short week, we all formed a very tight bond. It is a trip like this that will have the biggest impact on you, and make you want to tell your experiences with everyone you can.
On any normal vacation, you do not get the opportunity to meet native people and really learn the culture. You don’t get to spend the time talking to the children and making those bonds. Yes, I had a great time doing the construction work, such as digging holes and cutting grass with a machete, but the most satisfying part to me was getting all of those hugs from the people who were so happy to see us. When you think of poverty, you may think of it as the group of people you’re making food for at the soup kitchen, or as the group of people who will receive the money you donate to. When I think of poverty, I think of each and every person I met while I was on this trip. I think of Fatima at the orphanage, or the little girl Jennifer that I donated my backpack to so that she could go to school. I think of each and every person I met while I was down there, and I make a vow to myself that I will try to be more appreciative. I know that they do not have much, but they are the most grateful people I have ever met. If these children are so happy to have the littlest things, then I should be ecstatic over what I have.
I cannot wait for the day that I will be able to make my third trip down there. It is one of the most emotionally satisfying things I have ever done in my life. I am absolutely blessed to have participated in this mission trip and I cannot wait to share my experience with others.