Thoughts on Madawaska’s Hero Holiday Trip:
This experience is completely unexplainable to those who have not seen the lives of these people. We have not only touched the lives of the families and have given hope to them and the community, but these people have touched our hearts, and given us hope that we can make a CHANGE.
This experience has left me with many emotional feelings and I feel we need to stop and not be so judgmental of people from other cultures, and take the time to help them have better lives.
Every time I think back on today, to the looks on the families’ faces and the complete joy that Mario radiated when looking at their new home, I have to hold back tears of so many mixed feelings; happiness for what we have done for this family and sadness for having to say goodbye and an overall awe and amazement to how deeply we have changed these families’ lives forever.
I walked off this yellow bus with a white top, looking at a solid foundation; a solid foundation that wouldn’t just be a house, but a home. Today we celebrated that accomplishment! We finished the 20 x 22 foot house! So now we have a house and a family which makes a home. This family that I didn’t know….but I can truly say that I know them now, and they know me. They know they changed me, because that’s what this family did for me, they changed me.
We are more alike than we are different. I watched a small Mexican boy playing cars today and a wife stepping in and supported her husband who was too emotional to speak. Fundamentally we are the same the world over but some of us are SO privileged.
Our families were overjoyed today at receiving the gift of a house filled with furnishings, food, and donations from their new Canadian friends. They immediately expressed their gratitude by welcoming us into their new homes with their hospitality – scrumptious Mexican food that kept coming and coming! We built much more than two houses in our short time here. Despite what seemed like vast divides of language, culture, and lifestyle, we connected in ways that deeply touched our hearts. Life will never be the same for those of us who participated in this labour of love.
We are better together! Neighbours in communities at home, and in our global community, sharing, caring, and building together, ultimately meets all of our needs. To care for and support the fundamental needs of a family looks the same in this country as it does at home. Let’s LiveDifferent, ‘occupy’ our world, and allow each other the dignity to live and sustain ourselves, and our families.
Ten members of our group went shopping Friday morning – for furniture, bedding, groceries, house plants, water containers, and other necessities. They also pulled together and divvied up all of the various gifts we had brought from home. The other ten put the finishing touches on Mario and Catarina’s house, and tarred and shingled the roof on Simon and Ambrosia’s house. I worked with Theresa, an amazing roofer, to shingle the shower and the outhouse, including tarring, nailing, cutting, positioning, and trimming the shingles – things I wouldn’t have thought I could do a week ago. The six-year-old girl in ‘our’ family, Yuridianna, beamed a big smile when she saw her new bedroom with the polka-dotted quilt and all of the gifts on the bed, and then burst into tears that turned into deep sobs. I think she was completely overwhelmed. If any of the group had managed to have dry eyes up to that point, that did them in. We had two beautiful dedication ceremonies, one for each house, where each of us and each family member, said a few words, with the help of a translator. Then we handed over the keys to the parents and watched them enter their new house. It was a day none of us will ever forget. We have thousands of photographs to help but several moments will also be etched in my memory forever. I feel very grateful to the Madawaska Valley District High School students and friends and family who are with us; they have been truly amazing participants in this great experience. I also feel grateful to all of the community members and family members who supported us financially. We were able to buy the family everything on our list and a little more. Gracias a todos por siempre.