Ryley School – All the Hard Work Was Worth It

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Coming into this week, we were not really sure what we should expect. Should we be excited? Nervous? Scared? A mix of all three? Upon arrival, we soon realized that the cultural differences between rural Alberta and rural Mexico was too much to comprehend. When we first met the family we were shocked at the emotional and technological differences between our lives and theirs, as well as the appreciation they showed as we first started to help them on their life-changing build. When we first started, we could tell the family was shy to be around us, but they quickly warmed up as we worked with them and played games with their children. As far as construction goes, it was relatively easy, but it was also a great learning experience for everyone. We all learned something about building from our head construction leader, Saùl, and we all learned something about ourselves from our time working together. As a result, teamwork now has a new meeting for us. It helps us grow closer together, and accomplish greater things. It was easy to see that this family deserved this build, whether it be from the father’s admirable work ethic, or the mother’s never ending smiles.

Each build day, a group of four of us accompanied our LiveDifferent translator Felipe on “A Day in the Life,” which is an experience of the daily lives of citizens of Zapata. This experience really opened our eyes into the true lives of Mexicans, and the challenges they face. Many of the amenities we take for granted are considered luxuries for the people of Zapata, and that really made us realize how fortunate we really are. Think about your daily lives. You wash clothes at least once a week, dishes whenever the machine is full, and clean whenever necessary, but to the people of Zapata, it’s a full 12 hour day, seven days a week, just to take care of their families. This experience made us realize how much we take our lives for granted when families can be so happy with a lot less. A fun thing we got to do was make traditional tortillas with the families finding out how good each family’s own salsa recipe is!

As previously stated, the actual build was relatively easy, but it was a lot of fun. The family helped us with everything from cutting wood and hammering in nails, to just interacting with our group in general. There was always time for capuchis (piggy backs) for the children and time to let loose. The parents are quiet people, but even with a big language barrier, if we helped them with the smallest of tasks they tried their best to show their appreciation. The mother of the family showed a very nurturing character by the way she wanted to take care of us, and the father was just a genuinely hard worker.  

The house dedication ceremony affected us all in a very powerful way. Seeing the joy radiating off the family’s faces made all of our hard work worth it. The pastor of the family was there to bless the house and deliver a wonderful prayer towards us all. In the final moments, watching the keys being handed over, the weight of our work really hit home for everyone, even staff who have done this time and time again. Nearly everyone was brought to tears by the powerful emotions of the moment. The pastor, his wife and Saúl also showed great emotion to see what we have all accomplished in such a short time. It was such a pleasure to affect someone’s life in such a significant way, and it’s an experience that none of us will ever forget.  

We would also like to thank LiveDifferent for all of their great support in our journey with this family and how welcoming the staff were. Our group, Ryley School Leadership, would like to give huge thanks to Andrew, Dawn and their son Anthony for sharing this experience with us and making this all possible. They are such a loving and caring family who go out of their way to help countless groups build houses for families in need. Again, a big thanks to Saúl for being patient and guiding us through the build, and to Felipé for taking us on “A Day in the Life” and being the coolest translator that can fit in and tell endless stories to us all. Also would like to thank Yulisa who helped us translate and go through this build. She was another person who had a smile, no matter the situation. Lastly a great big thanks to the kitchen and cleaning staff who made this a whole lot easier and filled our stomachs three times a day while introducing us to many traditional cuisines! Thank you- A trip to remember and an experience we will never forget for the rest of our lives!!

– Daniel and Brady, Ryley School LiveDifferent Build, Mexico, 2015

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: July 4th, 2015