Day Five: Feet of an Elephant by Vince Alcon

March 24, 2016
The wonderful thing about ASB for me is the relationships created while on this trip. Just imagine 13 people from all walks of life, having different backgrounds, different life experiences and different ages. Sounds crazy, right? In most situations, having this many people may be hectic and chaotic, but this is not the case for this group. For some reason we got along very well. This day, the focus, at least for me, was on the relationships created on this trip, and the people that we met throughout the week.

We had a chance today to “just be” with the people in Bahia De Kino. Most of us went to the markets and saw what they had to offer, but what made this part of the trip so powerful for me was witnessing the group come together … each of us looked like we had known each other for years. For each of us, the well-being of one another was really important.  If someone needed help, there was always a hand, or five, available and willing to help and go out of their way. After the adventures through Bahia de Kino, we all collectively decided to hang out by the beach and just enjoyed each other’s company.  It was AMAZING! I loved it.

What also touched me about this day is in the afternoon when we went to Holy Thursday mass, the Washing of the Feet. I was excited to experience this mass in a different culture and to see the differences and similarities. What is so awesome about the Catholic Church is that if you have been to a mass a couple times, you somewhat know what is happening even if in a language you do not know! At this mass, I had the honor of being part of it. As we arrived at the church, we were approached by a gentleman talking in Spanish and I did not know what he wanted.  When someone translated, he was looking for another person to be part of the Washing of the Feet. Immediately I said yes, because this truly an honor.

I was under the impression that I was only going up when it was time, but I and 11 others sat facing the whole congregation the entire mass. That was nerve-racking having everyone stare at you, but looking up I saw some familiar faces like Marisa from Familias Unidas, and the ladies we had served earlier in the week. This had me reflecting on the relationships we created on this trip, from remembering Maria and her love in Naco, to Ramon and his dedication to service in Guaymas, to all the people at Casa Fransicana.  All these people had taught me me to humble myself, and to do everything with love and passion.

After sitting in front of the congregation for some time,  it was finally time to participate in Washing of the Feet. The priest made his way down the line washing our feet and conversing with each of us. In my mind, I was preparing to introduce myself in Spanish.  When he came to me, he looked at my feet and, laughing, said “Tienes los pies de un elefante.” With my broken Spanish I pieced it together that he said I had feet like an elephant! That was so funny that it took me aback. Then he asked, “Como te llamas?” For you non-Spanish speakers, that means “What is your name?”  I was still processing the comment he had made earlier, so I then answered with full confidence, “Tengo viente y uno anos” which translates to, “I am twenty-one years old.”  The priest then looked at me confused and said ” Si, pero , como te llamas?” He said it slower stretching every syllable out . Then it hit me.  So I then responded, “Mi nombre es Vince,” and he smiled and moved on.

This little interaction with the priest really taught me not take life to seriously at times.  Because he had this lighthearted spirit to him, it made everyone laugh and I really felt welcome at the church. That goes to show making relationship is the way to feel welcomed and be part of a community.

After mass was dinner, but a couple of us needed to use the bathroom STAT.  There was not a bathroom to be found. When we walked by the Red Cross station,  I said lets go in and use the bathroom there.  To our luck, they were fixing the bathroom. We stepped out desperate at this point but by the grace of God there was Marisa  headed back from church.   We yelled her name and got her attention. She then graciously let us into her home to use the bathroom.

See, making these connections and relationships is really important.  Without Marisa,  I would still have a full bladder and without the priest I would not have this wonderful story to tell my grandchildren.

I hold and cherish all the relationships I have created on this trip in my heart and at core of this is the universal language of love.