It was a whirlwind trip but the fourteen rotarians who took off to Mexico last month are back in Parksville Qualicum Beach.
“It was excellent,” said Parksville’s Diana Matsuda, who was part of the larger group of 17 including many rotarians from the Parksville AM club, one rotarian from the Qualicum Beach Sunrise club, five spouses and a few friends from out of town.
The group traveled to Vicente Guererro, through an organization called Live Different, where they built a house from the ground up for a family of four in-need.
Matsuda said the finished product was a 480 square foot home, equipped with two rooms, three beds and a kitchen.
While she described the house as “very basic” she said it was quite an improvement from what the family was living in before — a 120 square foot home, with no doors or locks, a dirt floor and a makeshift kitchen.
Matsuda said the project was a group effort and everybody helped out including locals from Vicente Guererro, workers from Live Different and the family who the home was built for — a Mexican couple with two children.
Matsuda said as time went on, the volunteers got to know the family more and more. One day, she said, some of the volunteers even visited the children’s school.
She called the relationship the family had with the volunteers “reciprocal.”
“We got as much from them (the family) as they did from us in terms of understanding,” she said. “It’s not like we were just there for them.”
Once the house was built, Matsuda said volunteers fully furnished it and bought the family a month’s worth of food. She recalled the moment when the completed home, full of furniture and food, was finally unveiled to the family.
“It was a very emotional experience,” she said. “The family was just so excited to get a new house, and a new life, really.”