July was an amazing month for me. I made a journey out to Guatemala for Habitat for Humanity. I participated in a build for a family in need of a home. I knew my journey would be amazing but I had no idea how life changing it would be until I experienced it. Upon arriving, I got to meet my host family that I would build for, the moment I met them we went from strangers to family. Together we all worked our fair share of sweat to build a suitable home that they would raise their son in. Together we worked daily on making cement, building rebar and shoveling dirt into sections of the home to level. Every block I lifted brought a smile to my face as I knew this was creating a beautiful home where many many memories will be shared.
What amazed me most was how much love everyone had that contributed to the build. From the masons, family and the habitat volunteers, we all shared one common thing....love for the greater common good! Yes, the work was hard, but the smiles, tears and belly laughter were worth everything. I was surrounded by amazing good energy every moment of every day. One thing I especially admired with the families was the tight bond they all had. Mayan culture believe that all you need is love of your family and faith. The other things are nice to have as in the end it all comes down to support for each other. Together everyone works to provide for each other. Made me think of how we stress of things that in the grand scheme of things really are petty. My host family taught me that your riches are the strong relationships you have with your family and friends. Here is a family that barely have enough to get by but when I experienced life with them, shared tasks, food, and traditions, you really felt rich with love and happiness. Love was the common denominator and I was blown away.
I spent one day learning about how to make corn tortillas. Mayan's use three basic corns to cook daily, they are the red, blue and yellow corn. These are the staples that they use to make all meals for the family. When special times arise such as weddings, quinceneras etc... they use a very special corn called "blanco" which equals to white corn. This is special as the price is very high for this corn and therefore they savor each kernel and only save for special times. When I arrived back home last week and was food shopping, I couldn't help but notice being surrounded by numerous "blanco" corn at my reach. I stopped and immediately thought about my experience with learning that "blanco" corn is a treat for my family in Guatemala. Here in the USA we can simply buy our white corn and eat it as freely as we want. Knowing now first hand that this is a treat, made me stop and reflect on my purchases that day to feed my family. My meals have now gone from being interpreted as a "meal" to now being moments of celebration as I am blessed and thankful. I look at my plate, my surroundings etc.. so differently from my trip. I knew I was blessed but now after seeing life in a full lense, I am even more appreciative and thankful to how blessed I really am.