Building trips are possible because of the level of commitment and dedication of the volunteers who work tirelessly in often very trying conditions. Constructions last anywhere from 3 to 7 days and the work is completed rain or shine in the face of endless obstacles.
Below, Nelson Rodriguez one of our volunteers shares his touching story.
Nelson is 35 years old and lives in a suburban neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro. He works as a graphic designer in an association of entrepreneurs and joined TECHO in September 2014. He confesses that while going to other states for building trips last year during a construction weekend in São Paulo he met Mrs. Sonia, and learned a lesson he will never forget.
Mrs. Sonia is an inhabitant of the community of Cata Preta and although she wasn’t part of the family that he was supposed to build the house for, he was touched by something that happened between Saturday and Sunday during the construction time.
The group that was building her new house was able to finish the floor by Saturday, which is good progress for a day of work, especially because that day it rained all night long.
On Sunday morning, when the volunteers arrived to the scene, Mrs. Sonia told them that she was happy because she had slept in her new house. One volunteer asked her; “but… How is that possible? Your house only has the floor!” She replied; “I put my sofa on the ground and covered myself with a piece of cloth, the rain that fell in the night was wonderful. I haven’t slept so well in a long time.”
She slept on a sofa, in open cast, during a night of rain with just a cloth to cover her! Nelson remembers that night as a really cold one. But for her, it was a wonderful night. Mrs. Sonia had a really hard life and she made all of them cry, not because of her condition, on the contrary, because it made them realize that happiness lies in the simple things.
Many people think that the work of TECHO is only building emergency homes in slums, but TECHO is much more than that because, through experiences like this, it manages not only to help disadvantaged people, it also joins the community by working together side by side. There are many good people living in slums who would like to work and just need an opportunity. All though living in very difficult situations, volunteers help has demonstrated that money does not define character, and that the poor are not those who have little money, but those who have much and are ignored.
That’s what leads TECHO: opportunities for change, teaching that with organization, will and teamwork, you can have a better life.