The last days at a Global Village work site are always the toughest, for two reasons. Muscles you didn’t even know you had ache from doing work you didn’t know you could do. If you’re really enjoying yourself then you’re probably also tired from the pace of the schedule and a growing desire to spend time with your team mates, now friends, rather than head straight to bed after dinner.
Primarily though, the end is so difficult is because you aren’t ready to say goodbye. I have never left a closing community celebration without tears, mine and those of many others. All of the partner families and Habitat staff go to great lengths to make us feel special. The sweetest gift we were each given, a handwritten letter from a partner family expressing their love and appreciation for our efforts, is among the most sentimental gifts I’ve ever received.
There were also serenades, dancing, hugs and tearful goodbyes. Filipinos love to sing; karaoke is a wildly popular pastime here. Incidentally, Wednesday evening we went to find out just what this karaoke, or “videoke” as it’s known, thing was all about. Oh. My. Word. Even if you only have a few people in your group who are willing to sing, give it a go. Just trust me on this one.
Back to the story.
Thursday morning we stopped to visit one of our partner family homeowners, Percy, at the community she currently calls home. Many of the families residing in Bistekville I are relocating from what are known as “danger zones,” areas where people live in trash dumps or close to rivers and streams that easily flood during torrential rains. Houses precariously perched on hillsides are easily washed away. During these times families are forced to leave their homes and seek refuge in a local school until they are able to return to try to put their lives back together.
Bistekville I is more than a community of well-engineered and solidly built homes, meant to withstand a hit from a would-be deadly typhoon. Bistekville I is an opportunity for a better life. Rain water rushes through the streets and empties into a drainage system that prevents flooding. Children safely ride their bicycles and play kick the can in the street. Residents operate small businesses right out of their houses offering many goods and services to their neighbors and generating extra income. People are also physically healthier and much happier as a result.
Sometimes breaking the cycle of poverty isn’t as overwhelming or complicated as it sounds. It may be as simple as taking time out of your busy life and dedicating some of your resources to help a deserving family afford a decent home, one made of concrete and steel, with a roof that keeps you dry and a door that locks to keep you safe. For most of us, it’s not a lot. For those in need, it’s everything.
Thanks for following us on our adventure in Manila.
Thanks for supporting your loved ones on their journey.
Thanks for helping us build houses with strong walls. The only walls we tore down are the ones surrounding our hearts.