This trip so far has been really amazing!
Just getting to the place we are building was a huge shock. It is a big open desert field with a collection of small houses and huts, some of them made of cardboard or loose boards. The families have been great - Jose, the father in the family, has been incredibly kind to us and every day he has brought our group something different for lunch or a snack. One of the other families made us some traditional Mexican food on the first and second days of building. Everyone in the community is very friendly and social, and even though we are only building for four of the families, everyone who isn't working and even some of the shopkeepers come out to help us paint or lift things. It's a lot of hard work in the hot sun and dust, but from the reaction of our family when they saw the progress at the end of the day it was totally worth the effort! Our group's house is almost completed with the walls up, the roof on and half covered in tar paper, the interior and exterior walls painted, and the windows put in. All we need to do is install half the tar paper and put up the last interior wall!
Everyone seems to say this and it's completely true, this trip so far has had a huge effect on me, It's a huge blast of perspective seeing people living in these conditions being so generous to us - the gifts of food, their sharing with each other, and just the way they act towards us. The thing that has stood out for me the most is that we have it really, really good back home in Vancouver. When a person here has something they're extremely thankful for it and happy that they have it, while back home people are never satisfied with anything. Even when they have something simple like a cell phone that would cost months of wages for someone working in a field down here, they are still wanting the next new expensive thing. The thing that I want to take from this the most is that I shouldn't be complaining about any of the little inconveniences of life back in Vancouver because there are a lot of people here who have so little, but who have modeled thankfulness and cooperation in such amazing ways.
Today I worked for the third day. I'm starting to get tired in the morning, but I'm still feeling great! Last night my roommates and I had a great story sharing session, and it was a ton of fun.
I'm working on painting the inside of the houses right now - at first I was trying to hammer nails into the window trim but apparently I'm really terrible at that! The family that I'm helping to build a house for has two little boys who speak english which so far has come in handy! Juan is an adorable 12 year old little boy, who might possibly have a career in photography! Today he bought me a chicken flavored lollypop, in between laughing at me trying to hammer in nails.
I'm feeling really good so far, the walls to the house are up, and the roof is being put together. The community has started to get to know us better and we all seem to be coming together. It's a really welcoming environment! Sidenote - I think Hero Holiday has a thing for painting bathrooms bright blue, as this was the second one in 2 trips!
Today we also went to a candy shop and everyone went NUTS! The coca cola here is really great, as there is something a little different about it. All the girls are going to be doing a lot of early morning walks with Mrs. B to work off all that sugar!