How has your life changed in a year?
A few days ago, 51 WestJetters loaded in to a truck, water bottles and work gloves in hand. The look of anticipation was very clear on everyone’s face – the day we’d been waiting months for had arrived. We are in Nuevo Renacer to build homes for five families who have been living in conditions that none of us could survive in.
I have been blessed to have participated in two previous Hero Holiday trips – the first trip a mere 12 months ago. That first experience was life changing and I knew before it was even over I’d be back. Five months later I was meeting my next family. Today I am now on my third trip with fellow WestJetters, but this time as a team leader.
A year has passed; three trips, nine homes and five more in the making. Fourteen families that have a better sense of security and more opportunity. The community of Nuevo Renacer is starting to look different from when I first saw it. There are more homes that have been built, men and women are off looking for work and children have more things to do.
Every time I come here, the one thing that resonates with me the most is meeting the families we are building for. They welcome us like family, and you can see how grateful they are that we are here. But behind all the smiles and excitement, there lies a sense of disbelief in their eyes. It’s almost like they have lost their zest for life. What I have noticed after the homes are built is an incredible transformation.
As the walls start to go up, the glimmer comes back and demeanors slowly start to change. The reality about their new homes is starting to set in. House dedication day is filled with excitement, accomplishment and the most wonderful feeling of love. But then, shortly after, we leave to come home.
What we don’t get to see is what has changed for these families. They have their souls back, exhibit a sense of confidence and have faith that anything is possible. They start to find work, they start to get an education, they have one less thing to worry about in life and they begin to focus on their dreams.
Our lives can change so quickly in a year. We all have a path in life and many of us go about our business not even realizing what has changed over the past year. In one year, shelter from the storm wasn’t the only thing that was built. A path from deepest darkness to the brightest light of the future can be paved.
Therese Gallagher, Planning and Delivery Manager, Inflight Operations