Our Habitat journey has come to an end. On Friday, we finished sanding and spackling, painting and varnishing, hammering and hanging, and turned the house over to Alba, Elisa, Vicente and Christopher.
There’s still some work to be done, but our Habitat colleagues assure us that they’ll be back to Paredones in two weeks to finish tiling and electrical work so the Martinez family can move in… and Christopher can come home.
Our closing ceremony was a bittersweet time. We sang songs, shared stories and well wishes and exchanged gifts–official Habitat Chile T-shirts and hats for our group, and Pace apparel for the family and the Habitat team. We’re proud to say that there are now 12 new Knights fans in Chile! We were so honored to be a part of this special family’s life, and so grateful for the hospitality and love they showed us. Truly, we were family for the week, and we’ll carry them with us as we return home.
We were up early Saturday morning to make the drive to Santiago and catch a flight to Temuco, a city in southern Chile just outside of Villarica National Park. The region in which the park is located is home to the Mapuche people, an indigenous group currently engaged in a fight with the Chilean and Argentine governments for greater autonomy and rights to ancestral lands. We spent 24 hours learning from individuals within the Mapuche people about their beliefs and traditions–Mapuche families even welcomed us into their homes for the evening.
Today’s activities included a hike up to a beautiful vista overlooking the Trancura Valley and its volcanoes (some of which are active!) and rivers, as well as an amazing Mapuche lunch and workshops in traditional Mapuche crafts. We’re now enjoying a low-key evening at the Gran Pucon Hotel. Tomorrow, our last full day in Chile, we’ll hike to thermal springs and explore the city of Pucon a bit more. It’s hard to believe our trip is almost over… it’s been an amazing journey!