Student Helps Build Homes in Chile

Arkansas Tech student  B. J. Paschal says he learned a lesson about giving back this spring.  Paschal, a senior history and political science major, traveled to Chile earlier this year to help those impacted by the February 27, earthquake and tsunami.

The earthquake leveled countless homes and businesses in the country, and Paschal traveled with a group from Second Baptist Church in Russellville to help build temporary shelters for those whose homes were destroyed.

Paschal said he quickly learned the importance of flexibility as a result of the trip.  His trip was originally to teach first aid skills to those in Chile.  However, the scope of the trip changed to building shelters for victims following the earthquake.

While in Chile, the group spent most of their time working alongside Chileans to help build shelters for those in need, and Paschal said he was surprised by “how dedicated” many people were to assisting their friends and neighbors in helping rebuild.

Paschal said there were so many people in need that it really put into perspective all he has been blessed with.  He added, “My favorite part of the trip was seeing the appreciation in the eyes of people who received these small shelters.”

Even though the group was in Chile for a week, Paschal hopes to return and spend more time learning about the culture.

“The hardest part of the trip for me was to stay on task while working to build the homes,” recounted Paschal.  “A large part of me wanted to be talking with the people and finding out more about their culture.”

Upon graduation from Arkansas Tech this spring, Paschal says he is planning to attend seminary.