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