Building Community in Mexico
Rick Gaupo of Salem Area HFH poses with Habitat homeowner Roberto Delfin Vasquez.
Mi casa es su casa, or “my house is your house,” is an expression of hospitality and community spirit used throughout the Spanish-speaking world. Rick Gaupo — executive director of the Habitat for Humanity affiliate in Salem, Oregon — experienced the meaning of these words first hand on a build in Veracruz, Mexico.
Rick says that he was overwhelmed by the warm greeting that he and the other volunteers received from the Los Tuxtlas affiliate and was impressed by the number of people from the local area who participated in the build. “It seemed like the whole community was a part of it,” he says. He also was touched by the gratitude that the homeowners showed the volunteers. “People were saying, ‘Thank you for building my home,’ before I ever walked onto the build site.”
For Rick, a 10-year Habitat veteran, participating in the build in Mexico also brought into focus Habitat’s broader mission: community development. “Working in Mexico gave me a sense of how big Habitat for Humanity is. It’s more than building a house; it is something that strengthens communities. It’s a worldwide movement that is making a difference.”