The number ten stands out to me: it represents the amount of days I was a proud member of a Global Village team. On behalf of Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity, my seventeen teammates and I left the biting Minnesota January weather for the sweltering heat of Puerto Ángel, México—a Pacific fishing village in the state of Oaxaca. We excitedly absorbed our host culture, witnessed magnificent sites, and met fascinating people during our week and a half in the tranquil town. But what I remember most is digging trenches, mixing cement, and tying rebar under 90+ degree heat and hellacious humidity. My teammates and I spent most of our time working alongside local residents to build the foundation of a house for a family in need. It was an extremely gratifying trip; ten days I will always remember.
The number ten is also meaningful to Marcelo, the lively homebuyer whose house we worked on. A former soccer prodigy himself, “Maca” has the utmost respect for the digits worn by Pelé and Maradona—a pair of the game’s legends. The exuberant 22-year-old actually dons the diez while starring for Pollería Dagmar; one of a dozen local teams that battle on weekday afternoons. However, despite Marcelo’s love of the sport, ten means much more to him outside of soccer. Habitat for Humanity Oaxaca has shown him the true power of ten.
The design of the Habitat Oaxaca affiliate is unique because it requires a group of ten families to construct ten houses. In turn, this scheme creates a strong sense of community, given that homebuyers have to continue their sweat equity until all ten dwellings are completed. In fact, the tenth house must be finished before program participants can move into their new abodes. Since the families look out for each other while their houses are going up, they will probably do the same long after the last brick is laid.