I have seen their faces and I know many of their names. There is Sueli the woman who organized our first mission to build stoves and who is now actively organizing the community to help build the school. She met us at the gate Friday evening and accompanied us up the hill where we received a warm welcome. There is her husband Antonio who worked along side us carrying rock and sand. There are her son and two daughters one of them named Melinda, the name of my own daughter. There is Valentino and his small friend who helped shovel sand along side of us. They are anxious and excited to have a school of their own. And there are the boys we watched carrying large rocks along with the men up the steep slope to the site of the new school. There is the entire community of San Gregorio who want a better life for their sons and daughters.
I remember my first day of school in 1948. All I had to do was show up. Someone else had built and paid for the school. It was expanded the next year to accommodate the post war baby boomers. Someone cared for me and provided a school for my education. I never knew them, but I do know these families and their children and I will give back something to our extended community, San Gregorio.