Yesterday was dedication day. All at once, the day was joyful and somber, heavy and uplifting. It was a day of new beginnings as well as goodbyes. But first, there was shopping to be done. In the morning we headed to Avigale (Mexican Costco) and bought several months worth of basic food and personal hygiene products for both families. After ten or so minutes of struggle we realized that the shopping carts wouldn’t fit out the doors, so we had to carry heavy bags of beans and rice all the way to the bus (and here we thought the physical labour was over.) We packed up the bus and headed off to the job sites.
Upon arrival, there was an air of excitement as we stocked the families’ houses with food, clothing, and various other odds and ends. We worked busily to put pillows, blankets and toys on the children’s’ brand new bunk beds and fill the kitchen shelves with food, utensils, pots, and pans. Once everything was just right, we headed outside and locked the doors. Now came the hard part: the dedication. With teary eyes, we all gathered in circles and shared our final thoughts about the build and the families. With Santiago and Isabel as our translators, we were, for the first time, able to communicate directly with the families. Many thanked them for allowing us into their lives while others could only cry and reflect on the strong relationships we had cultivated over the short five days. More emotions were brought forth as we handed over the keys to the front doors and allowed the families into their complete homes for the first time. After a brief tour of the homes, most of us broke down in tears. We had poured so much work and love into building a better life for the families and soon, we would leave, probably never to see them again. We all gathered for a lunch of sandwiches and veggies in one of the homes. It was a bittersweet end to our time with the families. After more tears and prolonged goodbyes, we stepped onto the bus with mixed feelings of satisfaction and sorrow. Then we went and ate delicious burritos. Kudos, Julia for your amazing cooking throughout the trip!
This morning, we got to sleep in until 8:30 (not much of a sleep-in if you ask me.) Today was our day to relax. At ten o’clock, we piled on the Hero Holiday bus for a bumpy ride to the foot of a rocky mountain encrusted in cacti. A short (but steep and prickly) hike brought us to an amazing view of the river bed and surrounding rock formations. We paused for a couple of group photos and started on our trek back down. At the foot of the mountain, Andrew awaited us with his bus, his lovely wife, and his megaphone. Though the sun wasn’t shining, we took another bumpy ride to a swimming pool nestled in the mountains. There, we ate hotdogs, swam, played crib, and basked in the Mexican sun.
Upon return to the house we quickly cleaned up, piled back on the bus (once again), and headed to Gastons for dinner. After a great meal next to an ocean view we returned home exhausted, sun burnt, and ready for bed. But first, another long, arduous debrief (not so brief).
Our wonderful week at Hero Holiday’s Baja house is over and we part with good wishes, awesome memories and close friends.
- Mark and Meghan