Today we turned over the keys to a house and watched the creation of a home. A powerful end to a year of planning, fundraising and dreaming. An end to four days of construction by a team of fifteen who literally poured their blood, sweat and tears into every bucket of cement, every shovel of dirt, every cinder block... Watching fifteen people join with the family and the community of Nuevo Renacer to create a small and modest home for a woman with a huge heart was inspiring and overwhelming.
Liliana and her two children were given the key to their new home... a key to a door...the first time they have had a home with a door that locks and a roof that doesn't leak. A home that will withstand the floods and keep them dry and safe.
The week has been bittersweet as Liliana's story is sad and uncertain. Battling cancer, she is not certain that she will live in her home long but gains tremendous peace and hope from the knowledge that her children will have a home no matter what her future. We are ever hopeful that this hope gives her the strength she needs to fight the disease ravaging her body.
A key figure for me this week has been the community leader, Sandra. This beautiful soul cares very deeply about the people of Nuevo Renacer and has worked tirelessly to leverage the help of organizations like Live Different to gain what her community needs to thrive and rise up.
Watching her walk throughout the neighbourhood, was a powerful experience. She was clearly respected and loved. She was everywhere at once and made such an impact everywhere she went.
As we were leaving, I took the opportunity to thank her for her love and care of this community. With her limited English and some gestures she told me that she doesn't do anything alone and that we are all better when we are together. She linked arms with me and tugged and said 'see, no pull away.. we are stronger like this'. While not an unfamiliar concept, coming from a woman who has made such a significant and palpable difference in a community that many would prefer to forget, was a potent and graphic example of leadership.
In all it was a day of many tears, much joy and important lessons we won't soon forget.