Our network of supporters often reach out and ask if they can visit one of our communities or help build a new home, and we always do our best to make this possible. In return we ask that after their visit, they share their experience with us, reflecting on the trip. Our team recently travelled to Tijuana, Mexico to build a home for the Delgado-Estrada family and the following week we received this reflection piece on the experience from Autumn Valencia, a supporter and friend of World Housing.
Saturday October 21st, the World Housing team partnered with Corazon organization and the Conrad Family sponsors. The team traveled to Tijuana, Mexico to provide a home for the Delgado-Estrada family.Early morning light poured in through the passenger window as we drove through the winding roads of Tijuana. Our car following closely behind one of the Corazon team vehicles, leading the way to the project site. Just beyond the border, we arrived to a small community Nuevo Milenio. Narrow erratically paved roads guided us to a street with colorful faded casitas placed sparingly throughout the block. My attention kept fluctuating between the stray dogs roaming vacant lots and bright flowers hung on semi-fallen chain link fences.
The somnolent six am daze was masked by my pure excitement and motivation for the day. Stepping out of the car, there was a hand-written poster in various bright markers welcoming the sponsor’s family and friends. The sign hung just above a fallen and deteriorated archway, drawing my eyes underneath; where, the Delgado-Estrada family was waiting to welcome the volunteers. Tender smiles and nervous body language, the Delgado’s introduce themselves as Roberto (48), Rocio (41), Jose Roberto (15) and Areli (13).
Little conversation was exchanged before the World Housing team and Corazon began to initiate the build.
“Improvised work stations were sprawled across the narrow road. The echoing of hammers and high-pitched power tools, played as the projects background music.”
As I painted the trim a soft lavender; the mother, Rocio told the surrounding group she chose the color because it reminded her of her daughter Areli. As the paint dried and progress was being made, Areli handed out homemade agua de Jamaica to the volunteers. The sweet hibiscus drink was offered with plates of pollo con arroz; the aroma lingering through the neighborhood, quickly inviting a flood of strays and their guilt-inducing eyes.
Several hours post lunch, the final wave of painting and hammering finished. The air began to fill with accomplishment and gratitude. The Delgado’s gathered in their new home, Roberto’s eyes welled as he took in the four walls surrounding his family. Home warming gifts were given in exchange for tight hugs. As the work load continued to dwindle, letters of love and plaques of honor were given to both the receiving family and the sponsors.
Stories of struggle, hope and morality were shared by Rocio and then translated to the group. Goosebumps and heavy hearts were inevitable after hearing about the family’s commitment to their community, faith and each other. With goodbyes taking place, I caught a glimpse of the gold key beaming in Roberto’s hand. The family fully embraced one another under a new roof.