|A heart-felt thank you from a woman who received a home.|
Members of the Village of Joy community know how to show their gratitude. In addition to providing us a very warm welcome, they had prepared an entire program to inaugurate the village. There were talks by community leaders, followed by testimonies from two women who had received homes. Each of the women presented us with gifts—small tokens of their appreciation. I knew that the small sum of money spent required a big sacrifice from their families. I accepted the gifts and the hugs that accompanied them, wishing they had not spent the money and recognizing that I was merely a representative for a lot of other people who had helped make that moment possible.
|When I spoke to the crowd, BJ, Food for the Poor's project manager for the village, translated for me. I'm not very eloquent. I hope it sounded better in Creole!|
The ceremony also included skits and dancing by members of the community, a talk by a Food for the Poor representative, and a “speech” from me (no one told me to expect that). I was thanked dozens of times, and I felt uncomfortable each time. I tried to smile anyway because the people had gone to great lengths to pull the ceremony together. One of the speakers appeared to read my mind when he said, “We know we are to praise God and not man, but we have no other appropriate way to show our thanks. We can never thank you enough for what you have done for our village.”
At the end of the program, there was a ribbon cutting ceremony at a nearby house. Finally, the crowd was dismissed with a benediction. The whole experience was overwhelming. It is one thing to know on an intellectual level that you are making a difference. It is another thing to understand it on an emotional level. I wish you could have been there to experience it with me. You did this for them. Thank you!