Kelley McNamara (left) helps building a home in El Salvador on a previous missionary trip. (Contributed photo)

South Surrey mother leads team of women to build homes in El Salvador

Kelley McNamara and her daughter are to help build a dozen homes in three days

A South Surrey mother and her daughter are leading a team of 12 women to El Salvador to build – at their own expense – a dozen much-needed homes for impoverished families.

The missionary work is organized through the non-profit Shelter Canada. It will be the fourth time Kelley McNamara makes the trip, but it’s her first bringing her 15-year-old daughter Lauren.

The women will be taking room-and-board with a family from Calgary that live in San Vicente, which is located near the geographic centre of the country.

Over the course of three build days, the women will construct a dozen earthquake resistant metal homes that are about 400 square-feet and contain two bedrooms and a main living area. The house will also feature a front door and windows that lock, “which it’s a pretty dangerous country, so that gives families security.”

After the women leave, Shelter Canada revisits the homes to pour a concrete foundation.

Asked to describe the living conditions of some of the families before they receive a new home, McNamara said there’s one family that comes to mind more so than others.

SEE ALSO: Teens visit El Salvador for volunteer project

“The girls were living under mosquito nets, one was pink and one was green. It was pretty unbelievable, exposed to the elements. Their beds were kind of half under a lean-to and half exposed. In the rain season, in El Salvador, they just get soaked,” McNamara said.

Each participant is required to pay their own way, and raise money for the homes.

“Lauren baked, I’m going to say, 42 pies and charged $25 a pie,” McNamara said, adding that John Volken from PricePro donated all of the ingredients.

“Lauren worked her butt off, she made so many pies. She would come home from school and that’s all she would do. She made over $1,000 that way, and we had a pub night fundraiser and we went to people in the community.”

One of the highlights of the trip, McNamara expects, will be the opportunity to spend quality time with the El Salvador people. The women intend to teach Salvadorian women useful skills, and at the same time learn from them.

“They’re going to do a course on how to make Salvadorian candy for us, and one of the girls on our trip is going to teach them how to crochet. That feels good, too. You’re not just building a home, you’re empowering them with skills, something that they can use to make their own money after we leave.”

Although excited, McNamara said her daughter has some nerves about the trip. It will be her first time inside an impoverished country.

“It was funny. She came home from school last week and didn’t want to eat her pizza because it was cold. I said ‘Oh Lauren… You’re going to have a rude awakening in a couple weeks time.”

McNamara also has a 13-year-old son, who she intends to bring once he gets older.

“All of our kids are born into such a privileged situation,” McNamara said. “It’s really important to me to show them how some of the world lives and that there are ways we can give back.”

Although the El Salvador people have little in the way of materialistic items, they’re rich in family, community and faith, McNamara said.

SEE ALSO: Passion for clean water drives South Surrey businessman to sponsor wells in Cambodia

“I feel like we’re the ones that have it backwards. We put so much value on materialistic things. It’s so refreshing to go there and be surrounded by people who are so full of joy, yet they don’t have anything materialistic. I think for me, not only is that a lesson and a reminder, it fills me up spiritually and I come back feeling like I see the world in Canada through a different lens.”

McNamara said she didn’t set out to make the trip consist of only women participants, it just happened to be that way, “which is pretty cool.”

The women leave for their trip Oct. 19.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Prior to receiving a newly constructed home, one El Salvador family was living under mosquito nets, Kelley McNamara said. (Contributed photo)

Kelley McNamara and her daughter Lauren will be heading to El Salvador on Oct. 19 to build homes for impoverished people. (Contributed photo)

One of the homes that Kelley McNamara built on a previous trip to El Salvador. (Contributed photo)

Just Posted

Outdoor AED unit in Surrey among the first in B.C.

SaveStation cabinet is alarmed and monitored – and hasn’t been used yet

Trade sends Surrey NHLer Brenden Dillon to Washington

‘We felt it was important for us to add a player of his caliber to our defensive group,’ says Caps GM

Construction begins on Highway 91/17 improvements in Delta

Project includes new interchanges at Highway 17/Highway 91 Connector and at River Road/Highway 17

Suspect in Surrey forcible confinement arrested in Toronto

Constable Richard Wright, of the Surrey RCMP, said William Daniels-Sey was arrested on Feb. 16

Despite evacuation, coronavirus-quarantined White Rock couple still two weeks from home

Government chartered plane to help cruising Canadians return from Japan

VIDEO: 7 things you need to know about the 2020 B.C. budget

Surplus of $227 million with big spending on infrastructure and capital projects

Trees Cannabis director fined $1.5M for selling marijuana

Fine follows provincial crackdown on popular dispensary

World Cup skier from Okanagan dies suddenly at 19

Kuroda, who made his World Cup debut earlier this year, passed away suddenly Monday night.

Coastal GasLink pipeline investor committed to closing deal despite protests

Developer TC Energy Corp. — formerly TransCanada Corp. — is to remain the operator of the $6.6-billion pipeline

New highway proposed between Alberta and B.C.

The route would connect Red Deer to Kamloops

What’s in a name? The story of Revelstoke’s Mt. Begbie

It’s likely the iconic peak had several Indigenous peoples’ names before settlers arrived

Budget 2020: B.C. Liberals blast ‘Netflix tax,’ lack of economic plan

ICBC rates still go up, except in election year, Shirley Bond says

Teen snowmobiler from Kelowna found after air force’s overnight search

The teen had been missing since just after 6 p.m. on Monday

Two law enforcement trucks ‘deliberately’ set on fire in northern B.C., RCMP say

Police say they have video evidence of a person in the area of the truck fires

Most Read