Hello my name is Maya and this is my 3rd year involved in Young Neighbors in Action. This year I spent my week at the Yaqui Reservation painting their religious education building. It was a hot week to be painting outside for five days but it was still fun and i learned life changing lessons during this week of service. I was able to step outside of my comfort zone and go up high on the ladders when I used to be afraid of heights.
Meeting the members of the Yaqui tribe was touching for me. I met Veronica, Maria and Francisco, all members of the tribe who welcomed us into our community and made us family. Francisco was the maintenance worker who came every morning bright and early to paint with us, show us what paint to use where and help us set everything up. Today when he was saying his goodbye he told us that we will always be his friends and his friendship comes from the heart. That touched my heart because we worked hard alongside him all week and shared our love and through God's communitywe have made another life long friend.
Another experience that touched my heart this week was when the teens in the Yaqui tribe came to help us paint. It was interesting to get to know who they are as people, their culture, and what they like to do everyday. I met Amy who plays almost every sport you can imagine. Also, her mom today gave us flowers from her father's funeral because it is Yaqui culture to celebrate death with flowers as the Yaqui believe that the entrance to heaven is filled with beautiful flowers. When she was giving them to us she told us that her father will watch over us in the rest of our journeys.
The Yaqui tribe taught me so much about community and what it means to be family. They welcomed us into their culture without a second thought and told us on the last day that there is always a place for us in their tribe. I made so many new friends, learned a lot about myself and strengthened my connection to God. I was blessed for these 3 years so far and can't wait for more.