The Maroon

On A Mission

Tessa Lehman, Copy Editor

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Most students spend their winter break at home, relaxing or hanging out with friends, but junior Tessa Barlyn spent her break on a mission trip where she built homes for families in need in Mexico.

Tessa discovered Casas Por Cristo, the organization that put the trip together, through a family friend and decided to get involved.

“It’s people from all over the country and we drove down to Del Rio, which is on the border, and I didn’t know anybody there,” Barlyn said. “I was pretty nervous but everybody was really nice so it’s just a lot of good-hearted people.”

Barlyn’s group was building a house for a family of seven with her group members, in order to give the family a better place to live.

“The family had originally been living in a cardboard, plywood house and it was just really disturbing that people live like that and it’s not even that far away,” Tessa said. “Their new house had plenty of room and it’s not like it’s going to leak or anything. It’s warm and it was just this miraculous feeling to be able to hand them the keys and say go ahead, go for it. ”

Barlyn said having to work with strangers on such a large project was a challenge, but physically constructing the house was easy.

“We just laid the platform, you know, concrete. We had the materials so we just needed to put it up,” Tessa said. “It was kind of like getting a lego set and then just having to put it together.”

During her four-day stay, Barlyn and her group built two houses for families living in what she describes as rough conditions.

“I think it’s important for myself and other kids to go on trips like this so that they can see what else is out there besides just this bubble of Austin High and what’s around them in their neighborhood,” Tessa said. “Even if you are not planning on going back, or doing it routinely, it’s so eye opening and it makes you feel a lot more grateful for what you have.”

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On A Mission