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Students build homes and relationships in Guatemala

The building was nothing fancy, a cinder block structure with a roof of corrugated metal. But for the Guatemalan family for whom the simple house was built, it was a haven blessed by God.

Led by their campus minister, Clemson students for years have traveled to Guatemala to help build homes. This year, they were joined by another group organized by diocesan campus ministry. They spent a week learning about themselves and their faith in a third-world culture.

Jim Grove, director of campus ministry, said five students from Clemson worked the first week, and five more from different universities took the second week with Franciscan Father Jack McDowell.

The young adults converted the flimsiest of abodes — sometimes made of nothing more than cornstalks or cardboard — into solid dwellings with a window and door.

The families for whom the houses are built help as much as possible, with even the youngest members pitching in, and lightening the load with smiles and laughter.

The students also visited schools and clinics built by the organization, and played soccer with the locals.

“These families are a reminder that you do not need money or fancy toys to be happy — just each other,” said Bruce Bogertey, from The Citadel. “The people that we have helped have nothing but are a very proud and strong family … They take care of each other and always, always put others before themselves. There are people all over the world that can take a lesson from their book.”

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