Hitchin youths build home for Mexican family

A GROUP of youngsters from Hitchin have returned from an “emotional” trip to Mexico, after building a house for a homeless family there.

The group of 20 from the Hitchin Urban Saints group, based at Hitchin Christian Centre (HCC), headed to Tijuana to build the house for the family of five.

Made up of six leaders and 14 youths, the group went through the lengthy process, which included laying the concrete foundations and building the wooden frames.

They handed over the keys to the family, who are now living in their new home, after five days of working.

“It was very emotional and a complete eye-opener,” said leader Lauren Eden.

“We were dealing with a different culture; there was no running water, no electricity, we were cooking on an open fire.

“This house, while something that others may take for granted, is going to give the family a stepping stone in life.”

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The group put in eight hours a day, working in blistering 30 degree celsius heat in the day, which dropped to zero degrees at night.

They stayed in tents, ate the local food, and washed in buckets of water.

“We wanted to give the young people a chance to see what the living conditions were like there,” said Lauren.

“When it came to handing over the keys, there were lots of emotional tears.

“We got to know the family while we were there, and we played with the kids too. They cooked meals for us every day, even if it meant they might not have anything that night.

“It was the first time that many of the youngsters had done anything like this.”

The group returned to the UK last week after a 24 hour journey, where they were welcomed by family and friends.