Going home again

By Myriam Anderson, Global Village volunteer in Paraguay


Learn more about
Habitat Paraguay.


Editor’s note: This summer, five young adults — born in Paraguay and adopted 20 years ago by different North American families — returned to their roots as Habitat for Humanity volunteers in Paraguay. Myriam Anderson went as one of those volunteers on the Global Village trip, helping to build the home of Florencia Caceres and Nelson Riveros.

While Paraguay lies in the center of South America, it has never really been the center of many people’s radar. If it hadn’t been for the fact that I was born there, it probably wouldn’t ring a bell for me.

But I was born there, and I soon found myself at Boston’s Logan Airport, waiting to board a plane that would take me to my homeland — traveling the route in reverse that first brought me to the United States two decades ago. Around 12 hours later, our plane touched down on my native soil.

On the first day of work, my newfound friends and I had to dig up that same soil. We had to break through roots, several pounds of dirt and our own sweat to create the foundation for the home. For someone who didn’t know how to dig in a sandbox — much less make the base of a house — this was a daunting task. How on earth was I going to do this?

Then I looked over at the family we were building the house with. The mother, father and their three boys were there working every day. A few days prior, they had invited us into their current, small home and shared their afternoon meal with us. This house was about them. It didn’t matter what I could and couldn’t do, or what I had never done before. What mattered is that they would have a place to live, to raise their children, to invite friends and family over, to share their love for each other.

Five days later, the foundation was complete, and the first few layers of bricks were set in place where the walls would go. Then as quickly as the project started, our time with the family suddenly came to an end. Many tears and laughs were exchanged that day and will never be forgotten. We had created a new family within the family of Habitat for Humanity.

Family bonds like that never break. I’m already planning the return trip.