• September 2, 2010

Grayson, volunteer in Argentina: “First impressions”

Grayson H., a vol­un­teer from Michigan, joined the Heart’s Home com­mu­nity in Argentina in July 2010 for a 14-month mis­sion. Below is an excerpt from his first sponsor letter.

“Today is day 42 of my life in Villa Jardin, a barrio of Buenos Aires some 30 min­utes out­side the city center. Six weeks ago, after leaving the sti­fling summer heat of New York City, I landed into an over­cast and blus­tery Argen­tinean winter day and was greeted at the air­port by two mem­bers of the Heart’s Home com­­mu­nity, Juan and Enzo.
After taking two bus trips from the air­port, we arrived at the Villa, walking through streets of uneven and broken con­crete with scat­tered trash and the occa­­sional drop­pings of the many stray cats and dogs here. We ducked into a narrow street, barely the width of our shoul­ders, turned into another narrow pass which opened into a wider street and we were sud­­denly there, facing the Heart’s Home with its tur­quoise front and yellow wiring pro­­tecting the window.

After set­tling in and drop­ping my bags off, I ven­­tured out into the Villa with Juan and Rebeka to meet some of our friends. This is per­haps my strongest first impres­sion of the life of our Heart’s Home in Villa Jardin: in my first few days, time and time again, I saw the signs of the trust, friend­ship, and love between us and the people of the Villa. Walking in the streets or vis­iting our friends, I saw face after face light up upon seeing us. Greetings and kisses are always exchanged, nor­­mally fol­lowed by an easy­­going and nat­ural con­ver­­sa­tion. Many times, invit­a­­tions are extended for lunch, dinner, tea, coffee, or mate – the tra­di­­tional Argen­tinean drink, a bitter herb blend served in a small, gourd-​​like con­­tainer, sipped through a bom­­billa, a metal straw that also serves as a strainer so you don’t dir­ectly ingest the herbs. The kids in the neigh­bour­hood run up to us for kisses and hugs, jumping into our arms and ofte n asking to be spun in cir­cles.

The source of this friend­ship comes from the fact that the life of our Heart’s Home is rooted in prayer. Stated simply, this is a recog­­ni­tion that our love for the com­­mu­nity, our Villa, is not some­thing that we create of our­selves. For love to be given, it first has to be received. This is some­thing that is becoming more and more con­crete to me as the weeks pass.”

Grayson H.

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