Early in the morning we awoke with a taste of excitement, anticipation and the heat from our sun burns burning our skin and headed over to the house, much to the surprise of our construction host, Ozzy. We got there and were hard at work within minutes; we’ve become so accustomed to our El Paso schedule that we don’t waste any time. All day we painted, re-painted and touched up. The boys worked on texturing the ceiling and we all, yet again, somehow managed to get paint absolutely everywhere. After work we quickly cleaned up and headed over to see downtown El Paso. The city area was a few streets lined with cheap clothing and knick-knack stores. We strolled the streets and ate a few authentic Mexican churros, before agreeing to venture to a Texas souvenir store on the other side of town. Unfortunately, after a long drive, numerous u-turns and countless misunderstood directions, we gave up on the souvenir store and decided we’d be more successful just heading to dinner. So, heads up, we might not have an abundance of souvenirs in case any parents/siblings/friends are reading this. We headed to a local Texas steakhouse and indulged for one of our last nights in Texas. We overloaded on delicious food and struggled returning to our home base, knowing that once we were back we would have to face one of our last reflection sections. On our way home we went to Target and tried to come to an agreement on what would be the perfect last gift for the host family. We decided to purchase some small gifts for the family and also plan on picking up a porch swing for the family’s backyard. After returning to the church we somberly gathered for what was definitely our most thought provoking discussion. Terry shared with us the fact that when we surprised Ozzy this morning he actually teared up because he had expected to be working on the house all day by himself while we enjoyed our day off. We also reflected on how much we knew about each other and how different we all are. It’s absolutely incredible to see such unique individuals become so united over a common goal. I couldn’t be prouder of our group and everything we have accomplished.
Over the past few days we’ve lost faith in the GPS, bonded with each other in ways we didn’t even realize, and have done something that many people don’t have the opportunity to do. I would say that building this house has forever changed the life of one family, but in all honesty I think this trip has changed each and every one of our lives in ways we cannot even comprehend. To think that in a little over twenty-four hours we will be leaving such a beautifully cultured part of the world and leaving behind an almost finished house is absolutely heart-breaking. However, leaving knowing that we have impacted so many people, the community of El Paso, and the fact that we will be able to bring back all of our experiences and memories is comforting. I know, personally, this experience was not about building a house or taking a spring break trip to El Paso. It was about bettering myself and making an impact on something much bigger than myself and honestly, I think we all individually have been pretty successful. I cannot imagine anywhere I would rather be with any different group of people. It truly has been an honor.
- Zoe Hoffmann, Alternative Spring Break (ASB) Student Coordinator