To Be So Well Received

Being my first time taking part of the Casa Building trip, I was not sure what to expect. I only knew I had the desire to take part in making a difference in the lives of those in need.  I didn’t know that those who I would come in contact with, would make such an impact in my life. It was touching to be so well received by the immigrant men, the children and community. Each were willing to open their lives to us and share all that they have to make us feel comfortable, even though our journey was to help make their lives comfortable.

It was special to share a meal with the men at Casa de imigrantes. I was blown away at the first welcoming gesture by one of the men, who concerned himself to assure that our cups were filled with something to drink. They each were so curious about who we were as we were about their stories. As I heard their individual horror stories about how they tried to cross the border and/or crossed over and were later deported, it reminded me of my blessings as an immigrant myself, to have been able to make life in the U.S with so many opportunities that I would not have had otherwise in my country of Nicaragua. I admired these men who are alone in an unfamiliar place with nothing to call their own, yet they carry-on not dwelling, but rather determined to one day cross over to the U.S, even at the cost of their life.

The visit with the children and community was heartfelt, as the kids were overjoyed to see us there and were not shy to bond with us over the fun projects. I was caught off-guard speaking to two 12-14 year old boys, who had informed me that they were still in elementary level at school. This saddened me, as i was reminded of the lack of opportunity the community has, starting from a young age. Nevertheless, both the kids and adult presented themselves full of life and overjoyed of our presence. They showed their appreciation by presenting us with a beautiful ballet performance, and the women offering to braid our hair as a way of affection. Here we were again, presented with the women of the community making sure that we were comfortable and well taken care of, by assuring that our tummies were full over dinner and breakfast the following day.

On our last day of the trip, we were able to further bond with the kids over a soccer game,which was rather entertaining. I was amazed to see how skillful these young kids were. As I watched the kids play soccer, I was able to take a moment to look around at the community, which looks “third world” to what we are used to in the States. This only made me even more anxious to start building in return for all the hospitality that we received and to give back for all the gifts i have at home.

During the making of the concrete, we were more effective when we joined together, both American volunteers and those from the community (neighbors, kids) for the building project. I was further impressed by the kids who took the project just as serious as the adults and were extremely helpful in speeding up the process.

I can’t say enough about this entire experience. At the end of the weekend, I feel I gained more than I was able to give. This has further motivated me to continue to take part in projects like this. I may not be be able to change the world into a better place entirely, but programs like Casa Building, provides me with tools to help make a change in someone’s life.

Thank you for allowing me to take part unforgettable experience.

Reflected by Manuela Flores