What a Great Christmas

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The Christmas season in my house is usually filled with food, gifts, and family. This year really was no different, but instead I got to give food, give gifts and become part of a community that accepted our team as members of their own personal family. For those who have not visited Agua Negra, it is named for the black water that plagues the streets and its residents. When the rain comes, homes are filled with this water along with any other creature seeking refuge. Our team had the privilege to meet the Garcia family, who by the end of the week received a beautiful new home. No longer will Agapito, Noelia, Jalyssa, or Anfernie have to deal with the black water or pests that used to plague their home, and Agapito can finally rest with the knowledge that his family will be safe and dry.  During the house warming ceremony I was really struck by just how important a name truly is, and was overwhelmed with the name Agua Negra has sought to change to: Neuvo Rena Said . New Re-Birth.  What a powerful statement for this village; to take a stand and take a name that shows what it is becoming, not constantly constrained by its past. We were able to be a part of this change, and words can’t describe what a honour that really is.

Throughout this trip the sense of community kept embracing me over and over again. Whatever village we visited, we were greeted with smiles and love.  Each of the team members spent time before the trip collecting gifts and supplies to deliver to these villages. I chose to collect school supplies as education is something close to my heart. When visiting Arroyo Seco, we toured the school that was built by Hero Holiday and learned how it brought together a community that had many divisions within it. Education unifies across cultures, traditions, and frames of mind. Needless to say I was grateful to contribute with these supplies and am thankful to my community for being so generous and helping support education outside of Canada.

I felt love, I witnessed hope and I was part of the change.

 ~ Rikki-Lee

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: January 6th, 2011