Buzz Lightyear and colourful wigs!
I’m sitting in the Hero Holiday coach right now about to leave the place I called home for a month. I’m excited to go home and see my family and friends but at the same time I can’t believe I’m having to say goodbye to all these wonderful people I’ve met, the adventures we’ve been on and the last remnants of those memories made together. The past few days have been a blast, starting out with the always extremely moving dedication day and ending with time to relax, stretch out those sore muscles and lay on the beach for a while. Yesterday we got to sleep in a bit and enjoy a relaxing start to the day before heading to our mountain climb and then to this awesome oasis in the middle of nowhere. It was so nice to enjoy the refreshing water (even when I got thrown in a couple times) and just chill out for a couple of hours, eating hot dogs and lying under the sun. We had our final debrief when we got home, then prepared for a night of high-energy fiesta-ing! A group of people- including Andrew, Dawn and Anthonie – had birthdays throughout the trip so we wanted to celebrate them all with a true Mexican party. The night was filled with yummy burritos and ice-cream sundaes, taking turns bashing the pinata (Anthonie had picked a very life-like Buzz Lightyear) and dancing to Santi’s awesome remixes. We even got Julia and Momma D boogieing in these great colourful wigs! The fiesta was the perfect way to end the trip and I can’t wait to see the pictures from the past few days and the rest of the trip.I’ve had the privilege of being a part of four house dedication days so far, and there is truth in every word when I say that their power to impact me never fades – each one is as emotionally moving as the last. This trip my group dedicated a house to a young couple with a three-year-old girl named Paola. The moment I saw her she immediately reached out to give me a hug, I could tell I’d never meet anyone like her. I was amazed that she could have so much unbound energy in her, that her smile could be so wide and full of laughter, and that her eyes could be so bright and not seem to betray any sign of the harsh life she lives.Maybe there is some advantage in being naive, maybe being so young means she doesn’t have to bare the whole weight of such a life on her shoulders as her parents do. But it is still a wonder to me that she, and all the other children I’ve had the chance to meet here, can be so full of life and so eager to share that energy with even us, strangers who’ve just planted themselves in her world and who don’t even speak her language. And it’s not only the children. It’s every family I’ve met down here who has opened the door to their life to us, let us in with open arms and shared their stories and even what little food that had. They treated us as if we had been their lifelong friends. Where you live, which family do you know who would invite in a complete stranger and do all this for them? I certainly don’t know any. The hearts of these people are bigger and stronger than I could have ever imagined, and they have inspired me to make mine a little bigger and stronger as well. They have also inspired me to use the growth I’ve experienced and not just let it sit there as if it never happened. Before I came on this trip I knew who I wanted to be in life, but I honestly had little idea of who I was. And though I know this is something almost everyone experiences, the seemingly impossible ‘search’ for self-actualization, I still was so angry with myself for not finding what I was looking for, and so confused about what I was even trying to find. But going on a trip like this, and experiencing everything I have in a world many people don’t believe, or don’t want to believe, exists, has changed that. Maybe I still don’t have all the answers, but I have enough to feel confident about the person I am. Maybe I’ve helped put up walls for these families, but they’ve helped to take down mine. They’ve taught me that happiness can be as simple as loving another, as easy to find as those little things we take for granted every day.Maybe I’ve brought hope and change into their lives, but they’ve brought even more into mine.