be_ixf;ym_202209 d_29; ct_50

Service Project at the Casa do Gaiato Summer Retreat

SHARE


WRITTEN BY

lhanson
Jun 26, 2014


TOPIC

Service Project at the Casa do Gaiato Summer Retreat

SU14_Solidary-Mission-openField Programs (a.k.a. organized in-country group trips) available to Summer 2014 voyagers in Lisbon, Portugal, ran the gamut from “Fado & Folklore Music Dinner” to “Portuguese Cooking Experience” to “Surf and Yoga.” One of the more meaningful, impactful options was a service visit to the Casa do Gaiato summer retreat outside of the small village of Sintra to help with the charity’s beautification project.

Casas do Gaiato — which means “houses of the children” — were founded by Priest Americo Monteiro de Aguiar beginning in the 1940s to house and educate young boys who had been orphaned or otherwise mistreated in their homes. Group homes are located not only in Portugal, but also in Angola and Mozambique. The Casa do Gaiato north of Lisbon houses about 65 young men ranging in age from 8 to 25 years old.

The afternoon soccer game was a highlight for the SAS students.
The afternoon soccer game was a highlight for the SAS students.

Twenty Semester at Sea students, staff, and dependent children wielded rakes, hoes, wheelbarrows and paintbrushes to clean up the grounds and paint a few interior walls at the Casa do Gaiato’s summer “holiday house.” At this Sintra-area rural retreat, some of the Casa do Gaiato boys spend a couple weeks in the warmer-weather months enjoying a rustic lodging experience near the Atlantic Ocean. Scout troops and other groups also use the house for only a donation to the Casa do Gaiatos.

However, this volunteering day was not all work and no play. Morning was spent getting dirty, but after a filling lunch of Portuguese dishes — including the ever-present cod fish, bacalhau — students played a game of futebol with some of the Casa do Gaiato teenagers on a weed-strewn dirt field. The play was intense, and, alas, the game didn’t go nearly was well as the U.S.-Portuguese World Cup match-up earlier in the week. (In other words, the skilled Portuguese teens outscored the SAS players about 13-3.)

Since this service project was one of the first group excursions for many students on the Summer 2014 voyage, working together in painting and gardening teams offered them a chance to get to know one another while doing some good. “A service project like this helps us go from being just classmate acquaintances to true friends,” said Ashley Materys, who attends Bowling Green State University.

Jessie Hines, a student at San Diego State University, noted that spending the day helping the less fortunate is more satisfying than simply, “checking off a list of sights on a typical tour.”

Pat Larsen of Denver, Colorado, who is one of two staff psychologists on the ship, said, “I’ve been on a lot of field programs on a few different voyages, and I’ve always found that service trips are among the most rewarding. I’ve made some of my favorite Semester at Sea memories by helping others.”

service project SAS
Painting projects both inside and outside the “holiday house” kept students busy all morning.
Hailey Graves of Cailfornia State University
Hailey Graves of California State University Northridge said, “Semester at Sea is a gift I’ve been given. The least I can do is give back.”
Clearing brush away from a picnic area was made easier with several helping hands.
Before and after; clearing brush away from a picnic area was made easier with several helping hands.
"Even though we didn't speak the same language, each of us knew what the other team was thinking out on the soccer field. We had the game in common," said Kevin McKeon of the University of South Florida.
“Even though we didn’t speak the same language, each of us knew what the other team was thinking out on the soccer field. We had the game in common,” said Kevin McKeon of the University of South Florida.
Blue skies and moderate temperatures made great weather for the outdoor work.
Blue skies and moderate temperatures were ideal for the outdoor work.
Hanging out with new friends after playing soccer.
Hanging out with new friends after playing soccer.

All photos by Carly Jurach.

CONNECT WITH US

One Comment

  1. adan
    December 23, 2014 at 6:38 pm

    Helping Hands International Offers life changing empowerment services that empowers your life. We touch lives…and empowers people around us and the world over. It’s not enough to have lived. We are determined to live for something, it could be creating joy for others, sharing what we have for the betterment of mankind, bringing hope to the hopeless and love to the orphans and that is what gives us more joy and hapiness , for we believe that “life is a gift,and it offers us the privilege, opportunity, and responsibility to give something back by becoming more”.
    14 Omotayo Ojo Street
    Ikeja
    Nigeria Tel: 08148345303
    Email: adamsj255@gmail.com
    http://helpinghandsinternational.biz/mdsho

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back To News Home