Today was something of its own. It was day 3, and our first day working on the site. Fellow volunteer and friend Andrew and I, were both working on two different houses today, and had two completely different experiences. From the moment we set foot on the worksite, I was handed a shovel and was mixing cement within the first five minutes. It was nothing but hard work and sweat from that moment till lunch, but we both knew what an awesome thing we were doing. It felt so amazing to actually start working on the house, setting the bricks and playing with some kids any spare moment we had. It wasn’t until the afternoon that Andrew and I experienced some different but astounding things.
As Fellow volunteer and friend Lauren said, this first day working on the site was no walk in the park. We sweat, and an hourly reapplied sunscreen, hoping we wouldn’t get too burnt. But what was the most interesting part of my day, was sitting down with the mother of our family; Clarivel and of course a translator. First I worried about the questions I was about to ask, but the second I sat down and saw Clarivel’s smile and joy I understood that this wasn’t a task for us to find out information or facts that you can share when you get home, it was to actually connect and understand this women’s life. Clarivel goes around the community teaching women how to write their name. She explained how something so simple like writing your name is actually a very daunting task. Further into our conversation we discussed how all her hard work and volunteering has come in a full circle, she has shared so much with her community and now her community and a few Canadians are giving back to her. She then said that everything we do today will not go unseen, and that our great deeds will be shown and great things will be drawn to us aswell. I truly enjoyed getting to sit down with Clarivel and getting to know about this proud and joyous mother!
As Andrew was having an amazing chat with a Clarivel, my team finished finished early, cleaned up our tools, and headed on a walk around the community with LiveDifferent’s Kent leading us along. The area where the few houses we were building did not carry the stench that came along as we headed along the water past more houses coming up to a bridge. The smell was an indescribable horrible scent from the black water as we passed over the bridge. The town had recently gotten rid of its old name “Aguas Negras” meaning “Black Waters,” and had been renamed “Nuevo Renacer.” I coudn’t even imagine how horrible it must of been before. Continuing to walk, we came across some better concrete built areas that had been worked on more, but was shocked when we came to the river to see it not only completely polluted, but the houses across built on the mud and in terrible, barely liveable conditions. Very few have the knowledge of knowing it is not okay to litter. The fact that children are even taught to litter here scares me, and makes me hope this great change and improvement continues to happen. Although, even seeing these terrible sites, any family or child we walked by still greeted us with a wave and a beautiful smile.
It made me so extremely impressed to see all the houses and work LiveDifferent teams and a few other groups have done around this community. As much work as it was today, I am ready to get just as dirty tomorrow, to help finish these houses, and get these families in need living in them. The love and care this community has can easily be seen by a quick talk or a short walk.
Lauren and Andrew ~ Building Dreams Volunteers 2013