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“We will always remember Paraguay”

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It started as a raining morning Banjamín Aceval. The sun shone bright through the windows of the Holy Family chapel, where Habitat for Humanity Paraguay had gathered to say their goodbyes to a team of 13 Global Village volunteers. For volunteer Wanda Smith, this had been trip number 41.

Walter and Liz, and Fátima and Diego were the two couples who shared an emotional week with the team, opening their lives and the doors of their future homes to volunteers from Holland and the United States, who spent the week building alongside the families.

The despedida began with typical Paraguayan music and dance, organized by the partner families. Doña Nicolasa, the mother of Water and Diego, said the blessing. Habitat Paraguay board members Heinrich Friesen and Gastón Guzmán also joined in the fiestas. With little formality but ample emotion, the volunteers and families prepared creative posters with their goodbyes.

For team leader Wanda Smith this was particularly special experience, as it concluded her 41st trip with Habitat’s Global Village program. “I chose each member of this team very carefully, because it was a very special destination,” said Wanda. “It includes friends who have traveled with me to other countries, as well as members of my family. When we first met these families in Paraguay, we felt like strangers. But now, after having lived this wonderful experience, we have all become such good friends that we will carry Paraguay in our hearts when we leave. We will always remember Paraguay as a very special country.”

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