Just a week ago, I was ankle-deep in mud in the southern-most reaches of Bogotá, with ‘Team Sanabria’ as they completed another house as part of “Techo por mi pais”, which is an organization very similar to Habitat for Humanity.
A couple of weekends each year, they donate their time (and hard labor) to build homes for many of Bogotá’s poorest residents.
It’s arduous work – which is more difficult given the frequent rain and adverse weather conditions in the hills above Bogotá.
The family they were building the house for on this occasion was exceedingly sweet, gracious – and willing to wade into the muck with the rest of the team.
It costs about 1500 dollars to construct one of the basic 3 meter X 6 meter homes.
Here the foundation, and flooring has been completed – and they are getting the walls into place.
Luckily, the rain didn’t start again until most of the walls were completed.
It was an excellent chance to see a side of Bogota that most visitors never to get see – and to meet many of the residents of the neighborhood, so I was very glad they invited me to join them.
It also gave me a chance to get some other pictures of the neighborhood – of things we don’t often think about when we see or hear about poorer neighborhoods (or slums).
Like the rose bushes that residents plant to brighten and beautify their homes.
Or the full herb garden, Juan Jesus’ neighbor planted (and shared with us) in her immaculately kept and fenced yard.
I think sometimes, the overwhelming poverty makes it hard for outsiders to notice the little spots of beauty in places like this. But it gives me hope – and it shows the resilience of human nature.
I think it’s also important right now, while our own country is hurting too.. With all of the divisions and politics – particularly in the aftermath of the elections, sometimes we forget to put a face on the people who are living in more marginal circumstances – due to unemployment, etc.
We hear so much about fraud, waste and abuse of social programs that we forget about the real people who desperately need these services. Now, I am not some hippie advocating for radical political change.
I am just a nurse, trying to find the people who sometimes get forgotten in the middle of all this.