A Face in the Fields
In coming to Vicente Guerrero, we had a mission… to build two houses for families in need. However, what we quickly learned was that although building the two houses was important, our priority would be building relationships with the families. In a land where water is scarce and work is arduous, the families we were working with gave all they could to us during our time with them. For one family, this meant working side by side, learning the required skills to assist with the framing of the home, painting, tarring, shingling – everything really. This single mother and her family poured their hearts into helping to build their house and the sense of pride and ownership was obvious. The other family, although only able to assist a small amount with the build, gave so much through their generous hospitality. This family expressed their gratitude by preparing two meals for not only the team building their home but for the entire group. In doing so, this family fed with us with their only chickens. We learned that it can take a whole generation for some families to build a home and by the group of us coming down, we were able to build these two houses in only 6 days. Both of these families had a difficult time expressing exactly how much it meant to them, but the humility and gratitude they displayed landed on our hearts, as did the tears and joy-filled eyes.
The diversity of our team added an interesting element to this project. Our nine decades brought a wealth of skill, workmanship, and challenges; such as our leadership styles and physical limitations. It did not take long to see how these differences became a strength and how everyone had something to give. Our God-given gifts were a definite blessing and we witnessed that what truly matters comes from within… a heart filled with love, courage, strength, and willingness. We were honored that these families trusted and accepted us so readily, with their whole hearts. And as far as our language barrier, it is true that a smile goes a long way and that it means the same in both English and Spanish.
During our bus ride back to the United States border, there was a different energy. We had so many questions on the way down and were fascinated by all the crops, both by the variety and the size. Now, we see those same fields and have an understanding of the larger story. The labour, the working conditions, the meager wages, the long days, the inequality, it goes on and on… Perhaps the biggest difference though is that our hearts now see a face in those fields. Our returning journey is one of quietness, reflection, and gratitude. Yes, the energy on the bus is much different this time. Our spirits are different. Our thoughts are different. Our hearts are different. We made a difference the lives of people from Vicente Guerrero and they made a difference in ours. As we make our way back to family and friends, we bring with us a commitment to LiveDifferent!
– Written by Heather. Melinda, Sarah & Marin, participants of the Anglican Diosese of Saskatoon’s Hero Holiday