Grayson H., an American volunteer from Michigan, has been living in the Buenos Aires Center for more than six months now. He shares with us some important events out of their daily life in the Argentinian slum:
Two months ago, we had our traditional “Farewell Mass” and fiesta for our community members Nana (Columbia) and Rebeka (Germany). In the days leading up to their departure, people were knocking on the door at all hours to say their goodbyes to the girls, thanking them for their time here and their friendship. Several people started to cry as they thanked them, saying there is no way to quantify how much love they and their kids had received from the girls. During the mass, our street was filled with people not only from all parts of the Villa but greater Buenos Aires, as well.
Observing all this, I couldn’t help but be affirmed in my own mission. The truth is that before leaving for my mission with Heart’s Home, I was harboring some doubts and questions about the idea of a mission of a “presence of love and friendship.” What does that really mean? Perceiving some suspicion in the various responses from people in the States, and perhaps allowing myself to be convinced of a somewhat American economic outlook which equates success with quantifiable results, I left for Buenos Aires with a good deal of uneasiness.
What struck me about Nana and Rebeka’s final days was the response of their friends, people who we had occasionally fed and to whom we had given medicine and clothes. What is valued above all is their very lives: their uniqueness, their humor, their love, their way of playing with kids; when they really needed a friend, Nana and Rebeka were there at their side. This experience was really too strong for any doubts to remain in me about the value of our mission.