It is day 2 of building in Aguas Negras and the feeling of joy and happiness is in the air. WestJetters, contractors, translators and the owners of the homes have been hard at work in all conditions, from scorching heat to rainstorms. To see the sense of determination in everyone’s eyes to complete these homes is inspiring.
For the past few days we have arrived on the job site a little after 9:30 in the morning. Before we know it, it’s time for a lunch break. Time passes so fast as no one stands still, always lending a helping hand where it is needed. This includes joining the bucket brigade (helping to pass buckets of fresh concrete to pour molds), sifting sand to add as the topcoat on the house, or spending countless hours laying concrete bricks to ensure that the walls are going to withstand hurricane winds. After a brief lunch, it is back to work to ensure that we are able to present these very deserving families with homes before we leave. We literally have to be torn off the job site at the end of the day, as everyone wants to stay and continue to help where we can.
One of the things that has stood out for me in building these homes is the fact that the entire Aguas Negras community has come to help. All of the local children offer to help where they can from filling our buckets to providing a smile or a wave when they know we need it. I have had many conversations with women my own age, and despite the fact that we are not speaking the same language, we are able to communicate and see that we are just like each other. Finally, I have to highlight Rosie, one of the people we are building a home for. All the WestJetters on site are wearing protective boots, work gloves and sunscreen. Rosie, the eleventh member of our team, is helping to carry cinderblocks and gather concrete to build the walls of her home in flip-flops and bare hands. She never stops smiling and was later gifted a pair of work gloves. When you see her smile, despite the hard working conditions, you know that you are truly making a difference in someone’s life by helping them build their home and it how much it means that we are there to help.
To see WestJetters putting their all into building homes for someone they barely know, but clearly love, is very inspiring and reinforces how our values travel with us and are present in all the communities we serve.