Lauren Fisher and Noah Ohlsen Went to Mexico to Build a House and Came Back with So Much More
When 2008 Olympic gymnastics gold medalist Shawn Johnson reached out to Lauren Fisher on Instagram to ask if she wanted to head down Rosarito, Mexico to build a house for a family in need, Fisher didn’t hesitate.
“She and her husband looked like really cool people… and I had always wanted to build a home in Mexico, so I said yes,” the three-time individual and four-time team CrossFit Games athlete said. She lives just above the Mexican border in San Diego, CA.
“I had no idea what to expect or what I was getting myself into,” she added.
Turns out, Fisher was getting herself into what she called a “life-changing” experience, one that she’s hoping to turn into an annual event involving more CrossFit athletes.
The details: Earlier this month, Fisher, her husband Rasmuss Anderson, and nine-time Games athlete Noah Ohlsen traveled to Mexico with a group of about 20 people for a whirlwind two days of building a home for a couple with two young kids who desperately needed a place to live.
- When they showed up, the foundation had already been poured, and over the course of the next two days, Fisher and Ohlsen helped build the entire home before handing the keys to the family before they left.
- “We literally did everything to build this home for this family. We hammered nails into the roof, cut all the wood, put the trim up, painted….Noah handled a chop saw for the first time.,” Fisher said, adding that she was admittedly “so drained and so tired” by the end of the day.
- “Literally from scratch we built this family a home in less than 30 hours, which was pretty surprising,” said Ohlsen, adding that he learned a ton about construction in the process. “I don’t know that I could replicate it on my own right now. I would probably need to do one or two other builds before that, but I definitely learned more than I went in there with,” he laughed.
- And before they left Mexico, Fisher and some others donated some of their own money to take the family shopping for various household items, a fridge, and a lot of food. “The wife was just crying. She was so emotional….And the kids. Their eyes just lit up,” Fisher said.
- For Ohlsen, the fact that they actually got to meet the family they were building the home made the experience that much more special. “We saw how sweet they were, how grateful they were…they actually helped the entire time, which I thought was really cool. They were cutting, painting, as involved in the process as we were,” he said.
- Ohlsen added: “And the kids were adorable. They latched onto me. Whatever time I wasn’t building, I was hanging out with those guys, and it definitely is heartwarming to know that these sweet little kids have their own space and their own beds.”
The big picture: For both Ohlsen and Fisher, the trip was about “so much more than building a house,” Fisher said, and they credit Hope Sports—one of the non-profit organizations that funded the build—for the work they’re doing, as well as for providing them with such a profound experience.
- For Ohlsen, who is “getting close to transitioning out of being a full-time athlete,” soon and will have more time on his hands, the experience helped him see what else is out there, and that it’s possible to use his fitness in ways “that feel more purposeful or impactful,” he said.
- And for Fisher, one of the biggest takeaways is that giving just a little bit of your time can have a huge impact on someone else. “It only took us two days to build this home, so giving back a little bit of time, imagine how that is going to change someone’s life forever…We get so caught up in our day-to-day lives, but it just takes a little bit to give back,” Fisher said.
She added: “The fact that now those kids have a home to live…That’s one of the things Hope Sports talked about. When you’re growing up, you’re 10 percent more likely to be successful in life by having a house over your head. So those kids, their lives are going to be changed forever.”