An awesome group of scouts and leaders from Manitoba joined Hero Holiday in Mexico this summer for their ‘Build a Home Challenge’! While they’ve been keeping their own blog on www.scoutchallenge.ca we wanted to highlight some of their stories here, but make sure to check out their own site for the full versions!First Post From Mexico!Today is our second day in Mexico! So much has happened so far! After 2 days, we have put up the walls and most of the roofs on the houses. Each house is slightly different in it’s completion so far, but we are making good progress. Tomorrow our goal is to shingle the roofs, install the paneling/trim, and re-paint. We still have to build and paint the additional interior wall. The families are great, and have been so willing to help, and have been so happy, it has been just amazing. The awe and excitement in each family member just makes you smile, Even though most of us cannot speak Spanish, it has been incredible how easily we have been able to communicate with each other. (We do have a translator, but he is not always present). The contrast between life here in Mexico, and life in Canada, is just…unfathomable. The sheer poverty here is overwhelming, and the lack of hope can crush even the strongest soul. By building these homes for this family, we are giving the a step up from the deep pit of poverty, and giving them the means to make for themselves a far better life. We are giving them hope.House build Complete!We have completed the construction of the houses today! Some of our team members went shopping today for the new beds, mattresses, and other furnishings for the home, all of which we will be installing tomorrow. The plan is to take the families out for ice cream while other members move in all the furnishings, and that way they everything will be a surprise. Each family will also be getting somewhere around 2 roosters, 8 chickens, and 5 fruit trees, each. We also found out today that each family is behind in payments for their land plots, and all chipped in money (about $750) to split between helping each family with their rent. On top of all that we brought a bunch of gifts for the families from Canada, which we will also be presenting to them. One thing that touched me in a special way was how hesitant each family was when asked if they wanted anything extra. Santiago (our translator, sorry if I messed up the spelling buddy!) had to really coax an answer out of them. Tomorrow is going to be a very emotional and overwhelming day for all of us. Today we also went to a local graveyard. Over half of the bodies buried there belonged to young children. It was very sobering to see the numerous graves of the babies who died on or close to the day they were born. It makes you realize how different life is here than from Canada. Our translator, Santiago, has a child buried there, who passed away 15 hours after it was born because it was born slightly premature. If that child had been born in Canada, it would have almost certainly survived. I heard today that many parents avoid becoming too attached to their children until they are 4-5 years old, because the survival rate is so low. It really drives the term “Live Different (formerly Absolute) poverty” home. The line between life and death that they walk in Mexico is a lot thinner than in Canada. They don’t get the “second chances” that we do. The amount of things we take for granted, such as water, shelter, income, hairdressers, shoes, holidays, clothes, healthcare, schools, consumable entertainment, food. The people here posses few, and work unbelievably hard for those that they do.On the brighter side, it is amazing how happy people are here! They always seem to be smiling and laughing. Everyone wants to put in a helping hand. Kids from all over the neighborhood would come to the job site everyday and try to help out, be it with painting, or hammering, or whatever job we put them too. Some of our members have been spending most of the work day just mingling and playing with the kids. Everybody has utilized their own special talents in this build, whether it be building, entertaining, communicating, photographing, etc. Everybody has been doing their share, which is awesome! Dedication DayHere it is! today is the day the families get their new homes!! First stop was both the yellow and green homes, where we dropped off the groceries and got the beds delivered and started building them. There were a few complications like having an important piece missing from one bed and not having the correct bolts for the bunk beds :p in the end it was accomplished! When the families opened their doors and we saw their faces, there were no words to describe the joy that they had! There were tears of joy and it seemed that a huge weight was lifted up off their shoulders all the girls were extremely happy to have their own beds – they showed us where each one was sleeping and they really enjoyed their little gifts we got them! After all the dedications were finished we all gathered, and the families cooked us all a fantastic meal. There were three different kinds of chicken, one was deep-fried, fried, and BBQ. There were potatoes, two different tomato salsa, pasta salad, egg salad, and coke to drink. It was all very delicious! We said our goodbyes and gave hugs and then we were on our way.