HFHI Global Village, Amarante, Portugal – Work Day 6 & Farewell

As usual, the week has flown by. Today we had to say goodbye to our village, Celeste and Diana, our amazing construction supervisors Rugerio and Francisco, and tomorrow we will have to say goodbye to our host coordinator Florbela. She has been with us every step of the way and has made our stay here even better than we could have imagined. As a resident of Amarante, she seems to know everyone in town and takes us to some of best places. We will miss her, spending our last night together as a team tomorrow in Porto.

We knew when we stared our build that we wouldn’t finish the house. Oftentimes teams participate in some stage of the construction, but rarely see the entire house finished unless you are the last team. Still we accomplished a lot and Celeste’s home will be ready for her to move in soon, well before winter gets going.

Her daughter, Diana, is particularly excited about the house. She will have her own room, a full working bathroom and kitchen. These are things she has lived without her entire life, 17 years. The house will be around to benefit the lives of all of her siblings far into her future. The next generation will know decent, affordable housing. They will have fewer struggles and disadvantages.

But none of this would be taking place had it not been for the insight and compassion of one person. It was a teacher at Diana’s school, who made a special trip to her house to deliver a basket of goodies at Christmas. When he arrived, she didn’t want him to come inside the house. Once he discovered the conditions in which she and her mother were living, he understood better the challenges she had been having at school.

He went to the municipality to see what could be done to help, and this is when he discovered Habitat for Humanity. With a lot of encouragement, Celeste applied and to her amazement was accepted into the program. Sometimes she still can’t believe that strangers from the other side of the world come all the way to her village to help build her house.

And we can’t believe we get the privilege of doing it.

To me, this is what it means for love to win.

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