Today was the day we have been dreaming of since our arrival. The energy, the excitement, the anticipation has consumed us. The house is finally complete. A house that we built for Paulina. A house that we built for the community and we cannot wait any longer to turn it over. But wait, a sudden thought hits us. If we pass over the keys now, we have completed our project. Our time here is over. We are not yet ready to go home. We are not yet ready to stop building. We are not yet ready to stop playing, laughing and smiling with the children. We are not yet ready to say good-bye to William, Junior, Gustavo, Martin, Spiderman and Carmen. We are not yet ready to say good-bye to our team of “Glamazons”. A group of ladies we have formed an unbreakable bond with and who are now considered family.
If we were home and a real estate agent turned over the keys to a new home owner, it would be a joyous day for everyone. The real estate agent would get their 5 % on goodness knows how many hundreds of thousands, the seller would be cashing their cheque and the new owners would be so happy and proud to be moving into their new home. Today, we gave more than joy to a handful of people. We gave a new home and life to 83 year old Paulina. We gave hope to a whole community – a community of young and old, who only last Friday, were complete strangers to us.
All 10 of us arrived here thinking that building this house was our goal, our mission, our reason for coming here. We thought we would wake up each morning with such pride knowing we were one day closer to completing this house for Paulina while adding to the LiveDifferent housing community. But very early on it became about more than just a house. Little did we know, this project would play a huge part in shaping our thoughts. It has changed the way in which we act and the things we say and do. Each day was a journey. We learned a lot about love, strength, kindness and the gift of giving, never considering the monetary side, just of faith, hope and change. Pastor Garcia and Sandra attempted to open our eyes to this on our first day but we were too naive to know the real purpose of our journey to their wonderful country.
Working so closely with 10 amazing women, we began to share their thoughts, see their strengths, help them with their weaknesses. This journey would not be complete without recognizing these 8 women:
To Barb, our “Moufasa”, who has watched over us and given us a perfectly timed smile, word or hug.
To June, who’s laugh, chatter and reminder to “Wake up June!” gave us a lift whenever we were feeling low.
To Viola, a woman initially of few words (and now not so much…lol) can lift your heart with one simple gesture of love, without needing it returned.
To Michelle, the quiet, driven, not so photogenic lady who always “has your back”.
To Laurie, the nurturing spirit who is ever patient (Karen’s roomie) and who always comes to life when a child catches her hand.
To Karen, our “walking zombie”, our fly dope distributor, our chicka who is equally as excited about knowing the recipe for different types of concrete as she is about making the human connection with each community member.
To Lisa, the master of timing – whether we needed a funny English Harbor West saying (“shined up”) or an uplifting song or nudge, she was always there. To Jacinta, the creator of “this mess”…lol. To put 10 women together for 10 days knowing that each and every personality would complement the other is no easy feat. She gave us the opportunity to feel and see what she had previously experienced and we will be forever grateful. She lives for each and every day.
As for us two, when the monkeys are running the zoo, who knows what can happen? Can you say “PARTY ALL NIGHT???” The “Glamazon girls” will continue to lead our warrior pack to whatever adventure they are unsure about tackling.
“I thought that if I touched this place or feel it, the brokenness inside me might start healing”.
Debbie and Amy – Raising the Roof Volunteers – 2013