The day after we returned home from Ensenada we were talking about our experiences over dinner. Four out of the six of us at the table have been to Ensenada and “knew”. We were trying to describe the way many families have to live. My son’s friend said “Oh, I know about poverty. I’ve seen documentaries and photos . . . ” and the four of us who have taken this journey all shook our heads and said “Uh, no. You don’t know until you see it with your own eyes.” And it is true. I can try to show you, try to explain, but it looks different in photos. It looks better. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing . . .
As I made connections with the people in Ensenada, met moms struggling to feed their children, kids who have never attended school, families that don’t know where their next meal might come from, the only thing I saw was love. Love for one another, love for life, love for their babies they so desperately want better for. I saw beauty and joy and hope and longing, just like I do with my clients in some of the finest neighborhoods in the world. When I got in close and took photos of the kids’ sweet faces they looked, to me, just like the children of wealthy families I photograph in the States; laughing, crying, shy, silly, naughty, funny . . . they are, simply, kids.
These families are no different than our own. They want their kids to do well in life, they want to give them the best start they can. They want to show love and discipline to their children. They want peace and quiet sometimes (not easy when you live with ten kids in 300 square feet!) and to just go to the bathroom without tag-alongs. They hope to give their children an education, although it is not always possible, and they want to see them thrive. Parents everywhere seek the same things . . . but the playing field is not always level. Life is not as easy for some as it is for others . . . but the struggle is universal. The hope is what keeps parents everywhere putting one foot in front of the other every single day. Right?
About the build.
Although we are only building the home for our chosen family over one and a half days a lot had to happen beforehand. Over the weeks prior to the trip our team worked to gather the funds needed for materials as well as set aside money for new furnisings and supplies to get this young family off to a good start. In the days leading up to a house-build the local YWAM staff trekked out to the family’s plot and poured the concrete foundation; a foundation that is essential because getting children up off of dirt floors greatly improves their health and academic successes going forward. The building materials were delivered a few days before we arrived. Esteban, the father of this little family, slept on these material during the night to prevent theft and make sure everything was ready to go when our team arrived. They are invested in this process and they could not wait!