As a first timer, I didn’t know what to expect. I was told all these times, dates, and activities, anticipating what will happen when I get to Mexico. The first day on the bus was already not what I was expecting. When we finally arrived at the Hero Holiday house, it was twelve o’clock with our tummies already filled with fine Mexican cuisine. (Side note: I don’t really like tacos or Mexican food, but these tacos are delicioso!). Even though it was midnight and most of us were half asleep, we still found the will to talk. We wanted to get to know some of the School of Leadership students staying in Mexico. After a good seven hour sleep, we woke up and started the day all over again with a plate filled with fresh pancakes and fruit. The energy in the house was good, with no one complaining about the three day long bus ride, but rather chatting it up with the “experienced” and talking about what to expect and who they are mucho excited to see. When we arrived at the building site, we were all greeted by many children. Most were already covered in dirt. At first, I was shy to play with the children but my walls came tumbling down once I started to share smiles with children who I have so little in common with. My mind was blown when I saw how all these children live. With close to nothing, these children were the happiest people I have ever seen.
After a nice afternoon filled with smiles and laughter, we left with the promise of coming back again tomorrow. Once we left, we were off to a grave yard. Once we arrived we were told about the realities of the high rate of infant mortality here in Mexico. We were also told about a personal experience that one had with this reality. The story was very upsetting and opened my eyes to the problems of an average citizen in Baja California.
DAY DOS (2). We finally started to build the house and school. As much as I would like to say I worked hard, I will admit that the eager little Mexican boys worked harder at hammering down nails in an hour than I did the whole day! It’s not that I didn’t want to work, it’s that there was simply not enough hammers and tool belts for everyone. Not only did I learn how to properly use a hammer on this day, I also learned how to use a chop saw thanks to Cody. Even though my day will filled with lots of smiles from the children, my favorite part of the day was at the very beginning. While I was listening to Les teach is how to use a hammer and telling us which part of the nail goes down, I was greeted by Yolanda. Yolanda is eleven years old, and one of the daughters in the family receiving the home this year. While I was standing, I felt a little hand creep into mine. I have only spent a couple of hours with this girl the previous day and she ready feels comfortable enough to hold my hand. In Canada we are taught not to associate ourselves with people we don’t know. In Mexico, you know everyone!
DAY NÚMERO TRES (3). I worked on the family’s house instead of the school. I helped assemble a roof and improved the number of hits it takes to hammer a nail in. I went from about fifty hits to around ten. After a full day of building and playing, we headed back to the house to eat dinner and then got ready for the movie night Hero Holiday hosts for a small village of kids. With a kid or two in everyone’s lap, together we watched Toy Story 3 en Español under the stars. Even though I miss my mom and dad very much I wouldn’t give this experience up for anything. I have learned so much on this trip and will probably keep learning. Sure, two weeks of skiing and partying would have been nice, but this is so much better.
P.s. Mom, don’t be surprised if I don’t come back.