Many team members have described the 2014 El Salvador trip as a “trip of a lifetime” or an experience that will forever be on their heart. Whatever language was used by each team member, there was one consistent message—everyone was impacted. Below is a compilation of what each team member learned or experienced, and how they were impacted in Comunidad Marvin.
“Our trip to El Salvador was truly an amazing trip of a lifetime. I nervously arrived in the village with a single goal to provide a safe water source, as simple as that sounds. But, I left with a proud sense of accomplishment, a heart overflowing with love and emotion, and the true understanding of happiness. I will forever be grateful to Triumph for making this opportunity possible and to the villagers for my renewed faith in humanity. I walked away from this life changing experience with memories that I will forever hold close to my heart.” Kevin G.
“What sticks out from this trip is the power of sharing God’s love, in any language: Whether it’s a small child holding Davis’ hand 5 minutes into the trip; Rebecca and I skipping down the street with the kids; Sharing a Snickers bar with children who’ve never had one before; Laughing hysterically while playing Frisbee; Kevin H. and Davis running relays with the kids by the sugar cane field; Madi starting a tag game with a group of boys at the nearby school; Keith playing marbles with Diego; Teaching the kids to smile for the camera and then seeing the joy on their face when they got to see themselves for the first time; Dora swinging with a boy from the school; The smiles and hugs shared while dancing under the spraying water of the new well; Listening to Marvin share the gospel in Spanish with such passion to the village; The hugs and tears shed when saying our goodbyes. These memories are imprinted on my heart forever.” Lisa
“Before going on this trip, several people said, ‘You will come back a different person,’ and ‘This trip will change your life.’ Those people were absolutely correct. I never would have imagined the heartfelt impact it would have on me, but I will be forever grateful because of it. The saying “money doesn’t buy happiness” was clearly defined for me on this trip. I saw the meaning of true happiness, not at all related to monetary or materialistic things. We were surrounded by a community with so little, yet filled with so much joy. I feel so blessed to have had a hand in making a positive change for people truly in need. I laughed, cried and formed new, unbreakable bonds with the team members on the trip. My heart is overwhelmed with love, and the men, women and children of the village we served will hold a special place in my heart forever. I thank Triumph for giving each of us an opportunity of a lifetime.” Courtney
“My favorite part about this experience was how quickly we connected with the people and the children of the community without even speaking the same language. It just goes to show that language is no barrier to show love to someone. Seeing how happy the kids were when we were having a mud fight, brought me so much joy. We take so much for granted. Seeing how these people have so little and make the best situation out of it, gave me an appreciation for them. I am so honored to have been a part of this team that gave this community clean, drinkable water, and the people of Comunidad Marvin will forever be in my heart.” Madi
“I was moved more than I ever expected by this experience. God used this trip to remind me what is most important: to love Him with all my heart, soul, mind and strength and to love and serve His people, whether they are in a small village in El Salvador, in Dallas, Texas, or anywhere else. I will never forget teaching some of the village boys how to throw an American football, the celebration after breaking through a thick rock layer on the drill, and the joy of sharing the hope of Jesus Christ with the village. The chance to do all of this with an exceptional group of friends from Triumph made it a truly incredible experience.” Keith
“This was my first trip overseas that was designed specifically for others and not for me. Something very special happens to you when you give of yourself completely and continually in the name of God to others who are less fortunate. The people in the village exhibited more joy than we often see in the United States, despite their circumstances. While I am hopeful we created long term value regarding water issues in this village, I was humbled by what the team gained from this experience. I am so thankful to be a part of a company that provides this type of opportunity to its employees. I am even more thankful to be a part of a company that is focused on helping others.” Davis
“This adventure will never be forgotten, the men and women and children of the village will be in my heart forever. How does one function without electricity or clean water? With love and hope as this village did; I was amazed on how they supported one another. One of the most memorable times was when we helped the children learn about hygiene with a play. I was the dirty fly, and they got a big kick out of that. I also loved helping Regina make tortillas for our lunch. Norma, our hygiene teacher, took us to the school, and we played with the children and went into the classrooms. I enjoyed running into the water with all the kids. I loved when I took two sisters by the hand and led them into the water; they loved it so much. I taught the boys how to play four square, played soccer with the girls, made piñatas with the women, and made flowers out of cups. Drilling was a blast and hard work but worth every minute. When the water came pouring out, the whole village was so happy!! The last day was so emotional; I hated leaving. We put on a play for the people in the village. I also gave my boots and sneakers to one of the children. A memory I’ll never forget.” Dora
“The next time I think that I am having a bad day or that life isn’t fair, I need only think of Comunidad Marvin and realize that I will never truly know what having a difficult life is like or that anything could possibly happen to truly make me have a bad day. I learned that life is not about just being happy but being joyful for the life you are given.” Kevin H.
“Perspective is amazing, sometimes. I was at the edge of the village when compressed air was being forced into the well casing, causing fresh water to shoot high in the air. The purpose of this process is to clean the casing of residual clay, sand and rocks. Water sprayed upward to 40-50 feet, including the general debris it was cleaning out of the pipe. From the youngest kids to the elderly, it was a loud and crazy dance-party under the spray.
It didn’t matter to the villagers that sand, clay and small rocks in the water also covered them; all they saw was the clean water now available to their village. Sounds of laughing, screaming and pure joy lasted for over 20 minutes. It was striking to me that they did not appear to be bothered by the tiny rocks pelting them. Instead, their focus was solely on the new, fresh water. In that moment, so far from my own home, my thoughts turned toward my tendency to focus on the debris in my life and not the fresh, clean water of God’s blessings. I paused and asked God to clear my eyes, my heart and my view of His amazing world.
My new perspective: Not debris, just clean water.” Tom
“Joyful. The people of this village – each and everyone one of them – can only be described as joyful. Despite their lack of what we American’s consider necessities, like running water and electricity, the people of Comunidad Marvin were full of joy. From the smallest child smiling from ear to ear after swimming in the river, to the town’s mayor who provided a special treat for each of our team, each and every person in the village showed me that it is not what you have that makes you happy, it is a choice you make for yourself. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin is quoted as saying, ‘Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God.’ God is with the Comunidad Marvin and I am so blessed to have witnessed that.” Amanda
“From the moment we arrived, the wonderful people living in Comunidad Marvin welcomed us with open arms. As if we were already part of the family, they proudly showed us the homes they had built by hand. Besides the obviously poor conditions they lived in, I was most struck by the love and joy pervading every aspect of their daily lives. As Americans, we all live in constant pursuit of happiness but the journey to it can be an elusive path. In that tiny village in El Salvador, I learned more about what our forefathers really wanted for us than I ever did from the constant bombardment we receive in the States telling us to make more money so we can buy that happiness off the shelf.
The Triumph team left a source for clean water in Comunidad Marvin but takes home so much more. We bring with us a lesson in living graciously and how living for the whole, not the individual, is what builds the true foundations for a happy life.
We also bring home with us the story of this journey to educate others in hopes that more communities around the world can finally have clean water.” Rebecca