Prof. Dan White
March 23, 2000
An Amigoís Adventure
The morning sun rose over the red clay hillside, and I basked in its warmth as I sat in a tuff of grass waiting for a van to peek its nose over the horizon. Mama said that they were coming today. She told my sister and I that they would bring tools, boards, maybe even presents; they were going to build us a house. I was full of questions: who were "they"; what tools were they going to bring, Daddy has a hammer and saw; why did we need a new house, ours was still standing; and most importantly, what kind of presents were they going to bring me?
The sunís rays grew warmer and I entertained myself by playing with one of the neighborhood dogs that I found sniffing around in the grass. It was then that I saw a faint cloud of dust rising above the hillside. That had to be "the people," I was going to finally meet them. I jumped up from the grass and ran to my house; I threw aside the tarp covering our doorway and yelled for my sister. I had promised to let her know I soon as I saw the van. Together we ran back outside and sure enough there was a big yellow van pulling a trailer headed straight toward our house. The stray dogs went scattering for cover as the big van screeched to a halt right in front of our house. It was "them," I finally got to find out who "they" actually were. My sister and I stood in the shadows of our house and watch as several white teenagers poured out of the bus and began to stretch in the warm air. All these people were going to build us a new house? I did not understand. A Mexican emerged from the group and began to talk to my mother; from our spot in the shadows we couldnít make out any of the words so we began to creep closer hoping to catch a few words or phrases. When the Mexican went back to the group and began giving them directions I bolted over to my motherís side and began asking her once again all the questions I had about these people, and the process of building our new house. My sister was not as brave of me and continued to seek shelter in the shade; I might have been a little scared, but I was determined to be in the middle of this new exciting project. Now at first, I didnít really care who these people were, what they had brought in their trailer, how or why they were going to build us a house, but I was willing to accept any presents they had brought me. Let me explain; we had a house so I didnít see why we needed another, but I had only received one other present in my life. I remember that day vividly. I had been sick for weeks and confined to my bed, and one day my dad walked in with a pair of brand new shoes! They were red and black and had these little lights in the soles that lit up whenever you took a step. I glanced down for a prideful glimpse of my shoes and tired to recall the last time I had taken them off. I couldnít remember, I wore them to bed, around the house, out to play, everywhere. My toes were beginning to poke through the ends and the soles sometimes flopped around when I walked, but these were my shoes. I was ready for another present that I could adore, care for, and take pride in. A smile came across my face as I looked back at the group of strangers. I studied their faces and I began to sense that the fun I was going to have this week might even be worth more then a present or two. On second thought, I really did want a present, but I wasnít even sure they had one for me so I kept those thoughts in the back of my head preventing me from getting my hopes up.
The next few hours contained more fun then I remember having in ages. The dirt roads that surrounded my house became the playground for my sister and I, and our American friends. Confusion about our new house diffused from my mind as I was captivated by the countless new games I was taught. These Americans were so nice; one guy even gave me a piggyback ride for 20 minutes. As the afternoon sun beat down on me, sweat poured out and glued my clothes to my body. I decided that it was time to get out of the sun, and I wandered over to the shade looking for the Mexican. I was determined to figure out who these people were and why they were building a house for us.
I found the Mexican moving boards and tools around where mom had told me our new house would be built. He spotted me and smiled as he came over. I asked if I could ask him some questions and he gladly agreed. We climbed into the shade of the van and I poured my questions out. The information I gathered straightened out a lot of things in my mind. These workers were high school students from America who had a deep desire to help people with tougher living circumstances then themselves. The most exciting information I learned was that the house they were going to build us was not going to be made of scraps of wood they found laying around and tarps bought at a hardware store. It was going to have a couple windows, a door, and even a roof; like the rich peoplesí mansions in the neighboring village. This got me so excited I jumped from the van and ran to find my sister, we were both full of excitement, and we were going to be living in a mansion.
The next week was full of entertainment. Our new mansion went up and the entire building process intrigued me. I sat on a block of wood everyday and watched it take form. They had these powerful saws that made lots of noise, a little machine that shot nails, and all sorts of neat little gadgets that were used throughout the construction. One night when the workers went away I had paced our house to determine its size. It took me 15 large steps to walk each side; a total of 60 steps around the whole thing! This was huge, even bigger then most of the other mansions in the area! There were three windows on the house, and we actually got a front door!
As the week came to an end I was sad this time of excitement was going to end, and I found the Mexican for one last chat. I asked him to tell his workers how much this mansion meant to me and the excitement that swelled inside of me as it was almost time to move into it. He said he would pass on my joy and that he had enjoyed our conversations. He got up to leave and pulled three bags of marbles from his pocket. My eyes tripled in size and thank-yous poured from my lips as he handed them to me. This was the perfect present.
The group left at the end of the week leaving a cloud of dust as they disappeared over the hillside. Life was back to normal. Our new home was unbelievable, and for the first couple weeks I never left my mansion; I was extremely proud of it. I thought if I left it might disappear. When this feeling wore off I took off to share my marbles with all the neighborhood children. On top of that, Mom said I could have friends spend the night, so for the rest of the summer I arrived home with a new friend every night. It pleased me to share the wonders of my mansion along with them.