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Our group started the day excited with anticipation following a very enlightening first day. As we began our walking journey to the first house, I am again surprised at the steep angle of our walking paths. Then I remember that we are here for only four days, and the people of Sehaquiba use these walking paths every day, multiple times. My respect and admiration for them only increases. For those of you using an elliptical please take note that these trails will triple the effects of your regular workouts.Part of our regular evening ritual is to debrief after dinner. Tonight’s debrief took on a new level. One of the first comments from one of our team was “Yesterday I noticed the state of the home, today I saw the people in the home." We all nod in agreement and recognize our transformation. We have all felt the closeness of the community, and each of our groups always have several community members accompanying us on our way. When school is out the children seem to find us to join in on the adventure. As we approach the next house on our list to install the stove the air seems alive. The people living in the house are eager to meet us and begin the project. An important part of the installation is having the family living in the home participate. This is important as it gives them the power of ownership and does not leave them with the feeling of being “given” something with them unable to give something back.Another part of our reflection was that of dignity. Our group was treated to a special experience. The first house of the day was a home full of people. As we working on the stove with several men of the house, we noticed many people in the adjoining room. As it turned out there were the parents of a new baby girl 40 days old and a new baby only four days old born in their home. After a little while we were invited into the room. The parents asked us to help them name the baby. We felt very proud to be asked, and started coming up with names. When we left we were told the top three names were; Rosa Maria, Heidi and Catalina. We noted that although several families that live in this home, the respect for one another was evident. It appeared that no one was a higher rank than another.In our first house after lunch, we were able to meet Manuella. One of our group took the initiative to speak with her. Maneulla is 100 years old, and there were five generations living in one household. We found out that Manuella married a younger man. He was 90 years old, but we couldn’t meet him today because he was working in the field (a real farming field). Another thing about Manuella, is that she still does the cooking for the family. To me this is a perfect description of being treated with dignity. Allowing someone to still feel important while recognizing that they do not have the strength they used to or the endurance.We also discussed the importance of wanting to do good things but do not want to create a negative impact on the community. It is important that we give them hope and help them to dream, yet make them realize they need to work to make their dreams happen. Possibly one of the best examples of this was when we were driving home tonight. As one of our team glanced out the window he observed two children dragging cinder blocks up the steep side of the hill. Cinder blocks are the base for the stove, so this is demonstrating that all members of the family are working toward their dream of a healthier, stronger tomorrow.
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