Love beyond measure
The experience we’ve had seeing the contrast between the drastic living conditions and amazing hearts of the people of Vicente Guerrero is one that words can hardly encapsulate. One can barely fathom how a family could have next to nothing, and yet, in terms of hope and love, everything. Those we built for were a beautiful family of seven: Javier and Silvia, and their five children, Isabel, Araceli, Susanna, Javier, and Silvia.
The gratitude they displayed to us was beyond measure. Not only were they thankful for the house they would, and now do, have, but they eagerly participated in helping to build it. Even Javier, the three year old son, grabbed nail after nail to pound in alongside his dad. Wistfully and sadly he cried “More!” when he was told the row was finished. It’s one of the sweetest memories from the build. Every moment of the time we spent with this family, we saw a smile on all of their faces. When the kids fell while playing, they laughed. When the heat inside their old house was unbearable, not once did they complain.
I think is safe to claim that Dedication day was our entire team’s highlight of the week. Sweet Silvia holding back tears in her thanks, the young girls’ sheer excitement at their brand new bedroom, and all that was laid out for them, and Javier calling out “Mi casa es mucho forte!” (My house is so strong!) was a heartwarming experience that we will never forget. Seeing them walk from plastic and cardboard to a building that would brighten their future, and the awe and joy they beheld, was indescribable.
One of the biggest things I’ve learned from this week was the irrevocable joy present in the humblest of circumstances. Going home felt like going to a foreign country – the widespread consumerism, disruption, and indifference in our culture is something our family had made me forget entirely…and, moreover, not want to remember. Every member of the family we built for changed my perspective in a way I had not known possible. The way they opened up to and trusted us, and showed us such love and appreciation, was so touching. I want to live as thankfully, lovingly, generously, and simply as they and my biggest wish with that is to return to see them someday.
Michaela ~ Hero Holiday Volunteer 2013