Progressians don’t shy away from new challenges or experiences. This year CPC took a giant step outside the norm and held the National Convention in Tulum Mexico. The business of Progress still got done, complete with lively debate at the AGM, but this year the atmosphere was more casual and opportunity to reconnect with friends across the country or forge new friendships was more than usual.
Another significant push outside the comfort zone was our hands-on opportunity to help get a community centre up and running. The centre supports people who are suffering from illnesses, like AIDS and Cancer, and street orphans in Playa del Carmen. When we arrived at Ciudad Alegria, a few locals were already working, raking and picking up garbage. A small boy, no more than 7 years old, was using a machete half his size to cut down weeds. I’m not sure what was more unsettling – watching a small boy with a machete or recognizing that this type of work wasn’t new to him. Those who participated will remember that day for a long time to come, the heat and the sweat that poured off us while we painted or sorted donations or helped clear the site of rocks and debris and spread the sand for a makeshift playground. We will remember the smiles and wonderful people from the centre who worked along side us.
Progressions hear stories of need and requests for support all the time. We are recognized, thanked and appreciated for that support but this time was different because the people we helped in Mexico didn’t ask for or expect our help. They were going to bring their community centre together any way they could. This was a surprised and heartfelt gratitude, an element we don’t always see. In the words of one of my fellow SILKS, “This experience gave me immense gratitude for what I have in life, even more so after seeing the thankfulness shown by that community.”
Thanks very much to those who made this happen. Among the photos I have included one taken on our last day in Mexico of Carlos Pardo and Al Gordon handing over the final cash donation of $1100.00 USD to the men from the community centre that helped arrange this event. We can be confident that the centre will make the most of that money and they will remember CPC with a great big smile.