We have returned from Mazatlan, Mexico where we participated in a Homes of Hope project to build 2 houses for 2 very poor families. I'm trying to find the words to wrap around this experience but words fail me. It was an experience of the heart & the body. It was humbling in ways that I cannot articulate. It was intense in ways that tested my limitations. It was one of the most moving experiences I've had. And even though, I'm completely exhausted and drained by the the last 4 days - I would sign up to do it all over again.
The neighborhood we built in is called a 'squatter village'. The land doesn't belong to anyone, so the poorest of society set up 'housing' here. This is not a government recognized suburb, so there are no 'services' provided. There is no plumbing. There is no trash pickup. There are no paved roads. Electricity and water is spliced in and each neighbor is dependent on each other for each of these. A picture of the neighborhood.
Traditionally, the men work while the women stay at home with the children. Our two teams were quite a spectacle but understandably the curiosity about each other went both ways. This was a neighbor and her little girl that we told about the children's program we would be host each afternoon.
Another example of a house in the neighborhood.
We started out with a cement foundation.
Homes of Hope provided the tools and supplies that would be needed.
Our electricity line for all the power tools we would need to power.
Day 1: The men marked the foundation and cut aluminum beams to build the frame.
The women painted the siding for the house.
Day 2: Completed the frame and raised all the walls.
The women drilled the siding in place on the outside of the house.
The men hung the drywall inside the house and we worked on the mud, tape, sanding.
Day 3: The men added the roof and everyone continued to work on the drywall.
The house was completed at the end of the 3rd day and we had a small dedication service for the family of 6 that we built the house for.
Some pictures of the children's program. We played games and provided small crafts. The kids were so bright and well mannered. They took nothing for granted, each working diligently on their projects, doing their very best.
On the first day, I took a group picture and I felt if I could provide each of them a copy of the picture it would be a real treasure for them. So I had 30 copies made and handed the picture out on the 2nd day. Later, I would see kids out and about with their pictures - it really warmed my heart.
As I walked in the neighborhood, I met Brigette. She was a very happy little baby, enjoying her bath time. I asked if I could take her picture and her mother proudly let me. Brigette was just to cute in her little bathtub.
What an incredible experience...one I'll never forget...