Reunited Friends and the Second August Mexico Begins
After many hours of pleasant, but admittedly long travel, we have finally spent a beautiful, entire day in Mexico! Armed with sunscreen and water bottles and precautions and messages of love ringing in our ears, we stepped off of the bus to begin building a a new home.
There were children, the family eager to help, and a couple other curious onlookers, all there waiting for us. But the first thing that jumped at you, was the bright colours of something like nine full vending stalls, filled with bags and bracelets and necklaces and of course, those beautiful, warm, “ponchos” or hoodies that are soft and keep you warm during the cold Mexican nights. I walked around, hoping, that maybe a Lady I knew from last summer would be in one of these stalls.
I rounded the corner of the bus and saw two women that looked quite familiar sitting by the table. And then I saw this woman, a simple vendor, who changed many of my perspectives in previous times I’ve enjoyed this trip. She saw me and remembered me, and I ran to her for a big hug after a year of separation. We talked a bit, despite the language barrier and my ineptness at speaking Spanish. I asked how she has been, how business has been and her kids. I showed her the bracelet I bought from her last year, and tried to convey that whenever I saw it I thought of her and hoped she and her family were doing well. I wanted to have more a conversation with my friend so I brought over our interpreter, Santiago. Through him our conversation became much easier and my friend reminded me of the loonie I had given her last year. She told me that she kept it and thought of me when she saw it. This immediately melted my heart and I nearly got teary on the spot. I keep thinking how insane it is that you can spend two weeks, just in the same vicinity as someone, someone I was not building for, someone I was not particularly there to help, someone whom the most I had done for was contribute a few dollars to and talk to every once in a while, would still remember ME. It was an incredible moment, finding out that being here truly does affect more than just the one family receiving a house. I found out that, Yes, every single individual can make their own difference within the group. She wanted to know about my year, and asked how I had been and we smiled a lot, and I feel like it was a very empowering moment for the both of us.
That particular moment is one of many that this experience has etched in my mind. One I will be able to look back on if doubt ever finds its way back to me. Even as this is my third Hero Holiday, I continue to learn from the families we help, the people around us, the other participants and LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute) staff. After my encounter with Michaela, we built and painted walls and roof panels, and I haven’t any idea what the rest of this trip will be. I do know that I look forward to every moment, to every experience, and for every opportunity to spread the love.