Hero Holiday…From My Prespective
For those of you who aren’t sure where I fit into the mix, I am the Director of Operations for Hero Holiday in Mexico. I spend a considerable amount of my time in Mexico. I organize the projects, know the communities, assess and identify needs and direct/co-direct the teams when they are here. I have a lot of details bouncing around in my head, intensified by being in a cross cultural setting. Life is a challenge, an adventure…and every time I speak to a student on these trips, I am so deeply satisfied with what I have chosen for my life.The young people who participate in the Hero Holiday’s are people full of potential. They see life for what they can do, for what they need to do. In their youth, they have chosen to put time, money and effort into spending a couple of weeks changing lives. The lives of the families, communities and people we help…and changing their lives as well. Every night we sit around and talk about the day, about the work, about their lives, their future and their experience here. And every night I feel pride and hope. I am so confident that we have a generation of young people in Canada who want to make a difference with poverty in this world. And while our number of participants grows every year and we are affecting hundreds and hundreds of lives, we are just scraping the surface. I find hope in the potential in our young people, their intelligence, their work ethic, their compassion. I have worked for the last four years with teenagers; I have seen the good, the bad, the ugly and the outright unfair. But I know what teens are made of, and even in the bad and the ugly, there is still hope. They need someone to believe in them. I count it a privilege to believe in the young people who come into my life through Hero Holiday. I am expecting them to change the world.With that in mind, it makes their daily accomplishments something to brag about. Today a house was almost finished for a family with five teenage children. They will soon be going to sleep in a dry bed that is sheltered from the wind. They will have hope too, because of our students. Because a group of young people came from Canada to do something like this for them. Today, another group of students worked diligently, with focus and determination. They also had a chance to see some of the negative side of ‘charity’. A car from North America drove by, throwing candy out the windows. The candy landed in the dust and the children picked in up from there. Our students asked questions and shared their opinions about this. Why didn’t the car stop and place the candy in the child’s hand instead of throwing it in the dust? Did they know that the tinted windows in the car completely hid the faces of the passenger, cutting of any opportunity for contact? Didn’t it seem a bit like a zoo? The students felt it was demeaning…some thought it was rude that they didn’t stop to greet anyone but kept on driving. I am proud of those students. They understand empathy, they get respect, they think critically and can analyse a situation. A few of our students worked on a special project today. They built a table for a home for children with disabilities, all of the children there are in wheel chairs. The table was custom designed to accommodate the mobility challenge. And the girls used those hand drills like pro’s, screwing in every screw with careful attention. They know that their work is going to benefit some children who are not living with their parents because their family can not support their disability, both financially and with appropriate care. That’s the day from my perspective. It makes every minute of work, every detail and every challenge worth it. In fact, it makes them seem like nothing at all. I am so satisfied and content that I can be living my dream. There is nothing like it, it is a pleasure to be working to make a change in these students as together we make a difference in attacking the poverty that exists in our world.