July 25, 2011. (Romereports.com)
This is the home of the Machuca-Bárcena family. They live in Tres Cantos area just north of Madrid. Along with hundreds of other families, they've decided to welcome young people into their home, where they'll stay for World Youth Day. Even though there are just a few days left before the big week, the family still doesn't know exactly who they'll be welcoming, or even where they're coming from.Antonio Machuca "It's not very clear. At first it was going to be two girls and two boys from Poland. Now it seems the group could be from France. For us it's all the same. They're great people so we're ready to welcome them, help them and share this experience together.
Martha Bárcena “At first, we're going to see how things work out. We're planning on using the kids room for the guests. We also have study room, which is my husband's office. We were told they don't necessarily need a bed, since they can also use sleeping bags. We'll sort things out when we learn more about who's coming and what they'll need."
Hundreds of families all over Madrid are getting ready to host small groups of pilgrims. It wasn't an easy decision for everyone. Welcoming four young strangers to one's home isn't something everyone is open to. But members of this family say, they're all for it. Antonio Machuca "I think it's because of our desire to collaborate with WYD. It's also an opportunity to express our generosity to people who are coming from far away, from all over the world, including Asia. It's also an opportunity to teach generosity to our children.”
For now, the children seem to agree. They say they don't mind not knowing the language of the visitors, nor do they mind, lending their room for a bit. Miguel Machuca Bárcena "No, I don't think it's a big deal. Sure, I'll share my room.”Carmen Machuca Bárcena "If they speak English, well I'll try to speak English or say 'this, this' with hand signals.”
It's these acts of kindness that Spanish families are offering to thousands of pilgrims coming from all five continents. All in an effort to make them feel at home.