• February 12, 2011

“A presence of love and frienship” - Grayson, volunteer in Argentina

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.

Grayson H.

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