Meet Matt Grumbine

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This summer, junior Matt Grumbine (second from right), as well as students from other schools in the area, took a trip to Nicaragua in hopes to help the community.

What did you do in Nicaragua?

In Nicaragua we spent most of our time building a house for a woman named Blanca. She has three kids and was living with her mother. She had been given a piece of land but only had a month left to build on it, otherwise it would have been taken away. Her mother wanted her out of the house, but Blanca did not have the time or resources to build anything. The house was made out of bricks and concrete with just holes for a door and one window. The plot of land was approximately the size of a classroom and her house half of that. While we were there, we also went to two different orphanages and a day care. When we went to the orphanages and the day care we brought suitcases of donations for the kids. We brought simple things like toothpaste, school supplies, shirts, headbands for the girls, and a couple of soccer balls.

What did you learn from the trip and how have you applied it to your life after coming home?

The trip to Nicaragua changed my view on poverty and just on life in general. While I was there I had the chance to speak with some of the people there. Unless they were a student somewhere they knew little to no English. I take Spanish at school, so I could converse with the people to a certain degree. When I was talking to them or just being around them I realized just how happy they were. They enjoyed the simple things in life and just wanted the basics to survive. They didn’t have running water, and often their houses were built out of plates of metal barely held together. One of the house’s roofs even blew off in a storm while we were there. Even with living conditions like that, I still saw them smiling and enjoying themselves. After seeing the conditions an average person deals with every single day in Nicaragua, as cheesy as it sounds, I have come to not take the things I have for granted.

What was your most touching experience while in Nicaragua?

The most touching experience on the trip was the last day working on the house. Blanca was there and was thanking us for what we did for her. She was so excited and thankful for some brick walls. She spoke no English, but when she spoke to us we didn’t even need our translator to translate for us to know happy she was. She started crying before she could finish talking because of how thankful she was.

What were your fears going into the trip and how did you face them or overcome them?

My largest fear going into the trip would have been whether I would have been able to connect with the kids at the orphanages and day care. When we arrived at the places I quickly realized that wouldn’t be an issue at all. The kids were just so excited that we were there. The kids would just keep asking to play soccer or any other game with them. I never had a moment were I wasn’t doing something with one of the kids there.

By Gianna Salerno