Young vounteeer comes to help build a home in Heredia

A.M. Costa Rica/Shahrazad Encinias Vela James Getz on the job in Heredia

The hardest job James Getz has ever had has been washing the dishes. That was until this month. He has been helping build a house in Costa Rica since last Monday. The 10 year old said he decided to join his dad and volunteer for one week and come down south with the Central American Mission Projects and build a house for a family under Habitat for Humanity.

“I like this a lot. I have never done anything like this, so I wanted to come down and help and see what it’s like,” said young Getz.

The fourth grade humanitarian has followed in the footsteps of his father, who has volunteered with the organization in the past. He had been asking for years to join his dad in the trip but he was too young and had never flown, said his father, Scott. This year Scott, his wife and two children flew to the Dominican Republic to celebrate their wedding anniversary. James Getz flew for his first time.

“When we landed on our first connector, he said ‘Dad, I did pretty good didn’t I?’ and I said ‘Yeah, son I know where you’re getting at.’ With that, it occurred to me that he was ready to come down,” said Scott Getz.

The older Getz had been coming to Costa Rica with the organization for five years. And this is his first year sharing his experience with his son. This has made the father emotional about his experience with James.

“I couldn’t have asked for anything better. I’m very emotional about it. The other night he said what it meant to him seeing me come down and do this. It made him really want to do it. And that hit me in my heart” said Scott Getz as he touched his chest where his heart is.

James followed by placing his hand over his fathers hand on his chest.

Scott Getz continued: “To share this with him is very important to me. There’s an impact and effort that he has, that means a lot. . . . I want him to see that you don’t take for granted what you have in the States. There are less fortunate people, and there are good people that appreciate this.”

James Getz had the financial obligation to raise $1,000 on his own to pay for his trip to Costa Rica, where he joined 15 others in Heredia.

He wrote support letters and delivered them among his parents coworkers and increased his chores around the house to make extra cash. Within months he had reached his goal.

He is part of the first group that is here to establish the foundation and the framework of the house. He is also the youngest volunteer this year for the group. James Getz’s responsibility is to fill up buckets with rocks for the cement mixer, as well as maintain the wheelbarrows. He was also digging for the septic tank, but the hole got too deep, said his father.

“It got too deep and too dangerous for him to get in and out. It’s three feet over his head and I didn’t want that,” said the father.

But it’s not all work and no play. James Getz gets to enjoy his breaks by playing soccer with the local children from the neighborhood, San Pedro de Heredia, where they are building the house. The field on which they play is an empty lot fenced off by barbed wire. James scratched his leg playing, but thought it was the “coolest” said the dad.

In the process of his charity work and playing soccer, he has learned a few Spanish words and how to communicate without speaking the language. Monolingual James Getz and his new Tico soccer friends figured out a way to communicate with each other.

“My buddies, they speak Spanish, and I speak English, and we figured out how to communicate. If you want to be goalie you point to yourself and point to a spot at the goal. It took a while to figure out,” said young Getz, a Tremont, Ilinois, native.

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