• May 28, 2014

Great Fire of Valparaíso: “I was waiting for you!”

by Hortense Doulcet – French vol­un­teer in Valparaiso, Chile

"Ever since the big fire in Valparaiso, we have been going to Cerro La Cruz – or at least what remains of it- to visit and sup­port the fam­i­lies affected by it. The panoramic scenery that is offered to us is quite sad and des­o­late: there are almost no houses, people live in tents sur­rounding the rem­nants of their destroyed prop­er­ties, so as to avoid having their land stolen; they strive to put up some small wooden houses despite the cold, the humidity and the light rains.

While strolling through the destroyed streets we “land” at Patricia’s house. We quickly learn that, iron­i­cally, they had just com­pleted repa­ra­tion works in their house on the same day the fire burned it down ... Thanks God nobody died, but they lost every­thing they had, and the mere prospect of having to start from scratch is all too dis­cour­aging. Patricia imme­di­ately makes some coffee and shares with us some cakes that were ear­lier offered to her. Over coffee, she tells us that her life has not been easy and that the hardest part of all this mate­rial lost is having lost all the trea­sured mem­o­ries she kept of their late little son. Nonetheless, this woman of incred­ible faith hur­ries to affirm: "While God has removed every­thing from us, He will cer­tainly fill us with twice as much! I do not doubt it for a second. I trust Him! Besides, I still have my hus­band – whom despite being dia­betic and having lost most of his sight, still works very hard and keeps hope - and my grand­daughter, who is always smiling and often says “Look! It’s great: we still have our piece of land and we have plenty of water. We are lucky!”

After Patricia, we meet an elderly man, Daniel, who lost the house he has lived in for 47 years. He had lost his wife and daughter a few years ago and is left with only his grand­daughter. Among tears he tells us: “My daughter came to visit me in a dream. She came to con­sole me and to help me go on.” “Thank you for vis­iting us. It’s been days I have been waiting for you” Alex tells us. I’m com­pletely dumb­founded by their faith, by their poignant tes­ti­mo­nials."

Watch this 4:27’ video about the Heart’s Home vol­un­teers’ mis­sion in Cerro La Cruz

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