3 Lessons from an Underdeveloped Country
This week we celebrated three BIG Birthday’s AND the 4th of July!! Canada’s 150th, Jude’s 11th and Ella’s 8th!! It has been a great week and we have so much to be thankful for 🙂
You might remember from my article last week that my family, along with several others, went to Mexico for the weekend to build a house for a family in need. It was honestly one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. To see and feel the gratitude of the Mom (single Mom with three kids), when we finished was worth every bit of labour, donating and fundraising. We teamed up with an organization called Casas de Luz, where they find the families and the build sites in Tijuana, Mexico, and where we (families, schools, churches, etc.) fundraise the money for the build and gather donations to furnish it. We ALL learned a ton and came back with a completely different perspective. Read on to learn the top 3 lessons we learned while we were there.
I was advised by a friend that using the language “third world” country is no longer appropriate. What is PC now is “underdeveloped” country. Will the judgement of our words / language ever end?!
So…the top lessons we learned during our time in Mexico were the following:
1. People make their own happiness. I have not been in such a poverty stricken area in a really long time. It was only 45 minutes from where we live and could not be any more different. There were piles and piles and more piles of garbage EVERYWHERE! In the streets, down the hillside and all around people’s homes. The homes were barely standing, made out of the most unsturdy materials and where the “open-concept” design they experience is not a plus. What was interesting though, was on Day 2 of the build, which was a Sunday, some of us went to the storage unit nearby to get the furniture for the house. All of the local people were dressed up for church. In fact the local pastor helped us load our trucks 🙂 They were some of the happiest people I have seen. Smiling and saying hello, and you could just feel the love coming from their hearts. It really hit home how WE create our own happiness, and how WE have a choice anytime and any place <3 Our kids did the same by playing with the kids of the family we were helping, and the adults followed suit with having an amazing jam session with guitars at night in the orphanage we stayed at. It was fun!
2. Have trust and faith in others. On that same day we had a huge storage unit full of stuff (mattresses, bed frames, dressers, tv stands, chairs, linens, etc.) to get into two pick-up trucks. The pastor I mentioned and a friend of his, helped us load the trucks full. And when I say full, I mean full!!! The picture below does not even do it justice. There was such a lean to the left in the one truck, we thought for sure it was going over at one point along the bumpy road we had to travel back to. While we were loading the trucks though, all of us ladies thought there was no way their stacking jobs were going to make it. At one point one of the other Mom’s and I said these men do this all of the time. They know how to pack a truck, and we just need to let go and have faith. It may not look the way we would do it – we surely would have needed to make two trips – but let’s have faith that the bungee cords will in fact hold and wewill make the bumpy trek back to the build site. And we did.
3. What is that saying? What is someone else’s junk is another’s gold. Well that was definitely the case here. We donated Jude’s old bed – his crib that converted to a bed so we had it for 11 years! To us it was not worth selling and not in great shape after all of the wear and tear. Well…it ended up being the Mom and daughter’s new bed, and they were so thankful to even have a bed. The Mom had been sleeping on the floor for the past year in her brother’s tiny make shift home. It was honestly more like a shack. We also donated a bike to one of the kids. Again, it was old and when we had it checked out in Solana Beach, it needed so many things that it wasn’t worth repairing. In Mexico, it was like Christmas for the boy who got to keep it. He had the biggest smile on his face riding it around. A shift in perspective on what we really need for sure. And what we talk ourselves into needing too.
All in all, this was a huge shift in perspective and a total re-grounding for us all. Jude wanted to round up all of the stray dogs in a big van and bring them home with us. We counted 43 dogs alone during the first 20-minutes from crossing the border to arriving at the build site. Ella was such a trooper and learned what hard work really is. ALL of the kids (we had 6 families in total), worked so hard with creating jobs when they ran out of them, like building a dog house for the family. My husband learned how to do the electrical in a house! I learned a lot about trimming windows – wow do you need to get those measurements right! – and a whole lot more about other people and ways of life. We didn’t speak the same language as the family, but felt an instant heart-to-heart connection and could feel the grateful and loving energy from them. We will be back for sure and I can’t wait to see how this shapes the future for our family and theirs.
Namaste and much love to you all xo