We did a tour of the community and houses in Aguas Negra that we would be rebuilding with Live Different. We practically had to hold back the WestJetters from grabbing shovels, hammers and chisels on the spot and jumping in to help – that is just the way WestJetters are. No matter where they are in the world or their circumstances, they are always looking to help those who need. This group of 50 WestJetters has been living up to this standard every day with their eagerness to help in any way they can, and the fun they are having while working incredibly hard.
The days at the build site have provided once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for this group to experience a variety of different tasks, skills and moments with all of the people taking part in this build. Everyone is involved – other heroes, LiveDifferent staff, contractors, the families they are building for, the community of Aguas Negra, their children and even the local dogs. In these moments, I have seen WestJetters smile, cry and work very, very hard; Like Curtis, who spent an entire work-day chiseling out a line in the concrete so that the family could have a water line for a shower. I’ve seen relationships form despite language differences. When chatting with Charity, I asked her why her house was being built so quickly and her response was, “The amount of teamwork we have with our contractors is awesome.” It is amazing what can be communicated through charades and singing.
I’ve also seen WestJetters moved by getting to know the families they will be helping through this initiative. Everyone in the group has had a chance to tour a home that one of our families is currently living in. For $60 U.S. per month, this family of five rents a one-bedroom, one-kitchen house. You read that right, there is no bathroom and no real door. This family lives in extreme poverty but welcomed the group into their home and offered the group supper cooked over a tiny stove top. Moments like this have given this group even more momentum to pour all they have into creating new homes and new beginnings for these families.
The entire group has been working exceptionally hard these past few days and incredible progress has been made – walls are up, roofs are being put on and smooth coat is being applied to the walls. Soon these houses will fully take shape and all of us are truly looking forward to them soon becoming homes.