North las vegas, nevada
Kimara wanted to go with her two adult children on a Global Builders trip to Puerto Rico. When they were unable to join her, she went anyway. She’s glad she did!
“Fuller Living” blog posts feature the people who make this ministry possible, talking about their experiences in their own words.
I am grateful to share my experience while volunteering in Puerto Rico in April of this year. What an amazing and life-changing experience! I consider myself fortune, and I am grateful to be able to share my story with others.
Over the past few years I have experienced emotional disappointments, impending divorce after 25 years of marriage, death of close family members and stress from work. My life was off-balance, and I needed to renew my mind and spirit. I felt compelled to take the focus off of myself and put it on someone else.
I honestly didn’t know where to start. I was aware of the tremendous devastation in Puerto Rico and went online to find an organization to volunteer with in that area. I found the Fuller Center for Housing. This was exactly what I was looking for. I took my time and researched the program and figured out it was for me.
Initially, my plan was to travel and volunteer with my young adult children, but due to their school and work schedules they were unable to attend. This was not going to stop me. It seemed as if every pitfall was trying to stop me, but — thanks be to God — I made it. Nothing was going to stop me.
Once I was able to register for the trip, I was contacted by John, the trip leader. He was fantastic in introducing all of the members who were volunteering and gave a clear understanding and overview of what to expect. This introduction to each of the other volunteers made me feel more comfortable. I was able to hear about their backgrounds and prior build experiences.
On the day of my arrival, as the plane was approaching the island, I was able to see the full landscape of the country — blue water and vast beaches, but I also saw the empty buildings and blue tarps on rooftops. I know then that I made the right decision.
I arrived at the same time as two of the other volunteers and we met at the airport and immediately clicked. It was like we already knew each other and felt very comfortable. Once the other group members arrived, there was a van ready to meet us and take us to our destination. At that time we met our most gracious hostess, Milagros, and her daughter.
After arriving at the Fuller Center compound where we would reside for the next week, the hostess was very warm and friendly. Although there was a language barrier, she made every attempt to make us at ease and comfortable. There were separate sleeping quarters for the men and women in the community where our work was to be done.
Our daily wake-up call was provided by the local roosters — ha ha ha!! Bright and earlier than I am accustomed to, but it was welcomed each and every day. We awoke to breakfast each morning, and then had lunch and dinner prepared by the local cooks. This was a wonderful chance to experience the food common the area. There were fresh papayas and mango right there growing in community. I have never eaten plantains before and didn’t realize there was so many ways it could be prepared.
We were able to help two families while we were there. There was a single mother with two children and a woman whose family home was impacted by the storm. This was my first build, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. Our team leader was well-informed and guided us through the process and went over safety procedures. This a great opportunity for skilled and non-skilled volunteers to participate.
Considering we were only there for a week, we did as much as we could and the next volunteers picked up from where we left off. As a gesture of appreciation, a meal was prepared for us by one of the ladies affected and we were able to meet with her and her children. During our down time we visited and were able to walk the neighborhood and experience the local culture.
I would personally recommend this experience to everyone who has a heart to help others. This was my first build but will definitely not be my last!!
Thank you, Fuller Center, for making this opportunity available!
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