Today was our first full day in Progreso after a long but successful travel day yesterday. Waking up to the fresh sea breeze and gentle morning sunlight wafting through our curtained window was a delightful reminder that we were indeed on Mexican soil.
After breakfast, Gary and Joanne gave us a warm welcome and cultural orientation. Due to the nature of our work projects this week, we jumped into action this morning. Eager to get our hands dirty, we were split into two groups and took off for downtown Progreso which is minutes away from our base. One group was headed to the house of a newly married couple. They have a dirt floor bedroom, with only an opening for door and window. They also share this room with an elderly family member that they help take care of. Our goal was to get the concrete mixed up and laid down so it could set. A good crew of boys, men and girls worked their butts off and got the concrete done in time to come back for a late lunch at 1:30. We left this site sweating profusely from mixing concrete in +30 degree weather and impacted by the difficult conditions of their living quarters. But being able to work alongside the couple, watching them take their share of responsibility for this project really encouraged us. We are looking forward to heading back later this week to put in a door, window, curtains and paint.
The other group headed to Lucy’s house. Lucy is a single mom of five and paralyzed from the waist down. This makes it incredibly hard for her to get out of bed and provide for her family. Walking into her small, dirty house, that is the size of some of our master bedrooms and en-suites back home, made poverty and the reality of some Mexican’s lives all too real. Cleaning shelves, dirt crusted floors, and scrubbing bug infested dishes was no easy task. Y