Kiara Diggs, 17, of Benjamin Banneker Academic High School in Washington, D.C., spent a month in San Isidro, Mexico, volunteering with the Amigos de la Americas organization to help the residents of this rural Mexican village design and construct latrines and to educate them on sanitary habits. Along with 63 other volunteers, Kiara attended a series of mandatory training sessions and retreats to prepare her emotionally and with the necessary skills for the project.
Though trained in Spanish, Kiara found it difficult and frustrating to understand the residents of San Isidro, and was often disturbed by the unsanitary conditions she lived under while there. She overcame these minor frustrations as she realized how important her volunteer work was. "We inspired and educated many of the townspeople to use healthier habits to reduce the incidence and spread of disease," said Kiara.