Hard at Work Under the Sweltering Sun
The following is a postcard from Lucius and Sarah, GlobalGiving's In-the-Field Representatives in Mexico, about their experience volunteering with Un Techo Para Mi País
6:00 A.M. - Half-asleep, our heads bumped vigorously against the car’s windows as we made our way through unpaved roads to Las Vias del Amor, loosely translated into The Pathways of Love. Do not let the name fool you, however. This is a community of tin shacks and stray dogs, located next to an abandoned railway track and a rubbish dump. More surprisingly, this shanty town lies just thirty minutes outside Mexico City.
Sarah and I walked along the dirt road towards the first shack, cautiously avoiding the muddy puddles that had formed from last night’s rain. We were greeted by two staff from Un Techo Para Mi País, which helps to build sturdy houses for these poor families.
They told us to put our bags down and join one of the many volunteer teams that were already hard at work. After all, what better way to learn about an organization’s work than to volunteer for them.
For the next twelve hours, Sarah and I hacked away at large rocks and dug deep holes in the ground to lay the pillars for the foundation, and hammered away tirelessly as we put the walls and roof up onto these new houses. Meanwhile, the beneficiaries of these new houses, many of whom were unemployed and living well below the poverty line, made us coffee and cooked us a simple lunch. During lunch, we all sat in a circle and heard about their histories and dreams, and how this house would afford them a modicum of dignity.
Finally at around 8:00 P.M, as we tightened the finishing screws on their new roofs, the heavens opened up with a torrential hail storm. My team of volunteers scurried and huddled together with the poor family of five in their new house. Although sunburnt and blistered, we were happy and dry, for we knew that our job was complete.
Many other families are still in need of a roof over their heads.
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Lucius hammering in the final nails
Sarah with her team in a completed house