The Dragon's Tale

Mason Quinn: Home away from home

Gillian Groomes, Staff Journalist

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The word “home” is in reference to the place one takes residence, but the meaning can be arbitrary. To Mason Quinn, a sophomore at South Oldham High School (SOHS),  “home” is defined by the people around you, even if you move 2,658 miles around the world.

In 2016, Quinn and his family got the experience of a lifetime of living in Antigua, Guatemala. His father works as a researcher for the University of Louisville, and for eleven weeks from September 26 to December 13, Quinn attended school and church camps while learning Spanish in Guatemala. Quinn now considers Guatemala as a secondary home to him because of the friends he made while living there.

Guatemala is a country in Central America that borders the North Pacific Ocean. It is mountainous with beaches and many plateaus. According to the World Factbook, Guatemala’s most recent population is 15,189,958 (July 2016).

Viewing and experiencing the drastic differences between Guatemalans and Americans changed how Quinn views himself and how the United States functions.

“When I was there I had many friends that were just like people here, but they have different backgrounds,” Quinn said.

In Guatemala, unlike the United States, driving to the grocery store to grab Nutella is not usually an option. Guatemalans have to walk to the marketplace and buy specific ingredients they need for their meals. People from the impoverished parts of Guatemala sometimes do not have the money to buy enough food to feed their families, let alone have the luxury of owning a car.

“Seeing the different living situations made me feel like I had a lot more than I should have, but honestly when [the people of Guatemala] have so little it makes them happier people,” Quinn said.

Even though Quinn and his family lived in the relatively wealthy city of Antigua, the lifestyles of the locals were still very different from the people in the United States.

“I had many friends at the church camps I went to, and we loved each other and were very kind to one another. At the end of this five day church camp one of my friends went into shock because he realized that he would have to go home where he didn’t have that love and friendship. Seeing things like that in your life change you a lot more than anything school can give you, ” Quinn said.

For Quinn, that experience was more than enough reason to want to help the people of Guatemala when he returns in the future. He knows that just by being a friend and caring for the people, he is improving their lives drastically.

As Quinn moves forward in high school and on to college, he plans to work hard in order to be able to return to Guatemala. After that, Quinn hopes he can travel to other countries through the Peace Corps to help other people, even if it is just by being a friend.

“When I am able to, I look forward to going back,” Quinn said.

No matter what he ends up doing in life, Quinn knows that he wants to help others out of the goodness of his heart, and Guatemala was only his first step.

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Mason Quinn: Home away from home