By Nathan, French volunteer in Valparaiso
I would like to tell you a little bit about señora Hilda. She is a wife, a mother, a grandmother and a great grandmother of 95 years old and she lives a few hundred feet away from our house. Each time we are visiting her, she is telling us in tears how much she would like to be able to walk to our house and join us for the Rosary. Unfortunately her legs don’t allow her to do so. She is a woman who is thirsting for a true presence. The most important when we are with her is not to speak but to be with her and to listen to her. Her body is aging more and more but her memory remains intact and she shares with us about her life and her family. She also likes to sing the Chilean national anthem and teaches it to us so that we can sing it together. She is so grateful for the times she shares with us and we always need to make sure we come back soon.
Let me now introduce you to Chalia. She knows the definition of family as she has 15 brothers and sisters and most of them live in the neighborhood or the surrounding neighborhood. She has two children but she also takes care of one of her nieces and one of her nephews because their mother is not able to do so. When we go and visit her in her apartment, we are considered as honorary guests. Nothing is more important for her than talking to us. During our visits, she tells us a lot about her difficulties and how she is concerned for the needs of her brothers and sisters and tries to help them. She is very open and true with us. She asks us to pray for her and her brothers and sisters as well as for her responsibilities educating the children. She always offers us tea or coffee with some cake. She has little to offer but offers it with generosity.
What is our mission all about? I would say it is about encounters that are transformed with time into friendships. These friendships with the children as well as with the elderly require our time, our perseverance and our faithfulness in order to grow more an more. "God wants above all my efforts, and nothing that is made out of love will be lost", Saint Alberto Hurtado.