A Day of Clouds After a Day of Sun

June 24, 2012

When we start building at noon, and the skies are clear, and the sun beats down on two degrees south of the Equator, work is hard, and it takes a tremendous amount out of us. Friday night, I think this team all went to bed earlier than normal, especially for a Friday night.

            Saturday morning was a different story; breakfast at 7:00, in the van at 7:30, and at the first home site around 8:30. Interesting that when we arrived at it, neither Ivan nor Gato (the “maestros,” or master carpenters we work with every year, and whom we have come to know and really appreciate), were interested in getting out of the truck. We ordinarily let them choose between them who will work where, and it was a bit disconcerting when neither stepped up. Finally, Gato crawled out of the truck, which meant that team (Glenn Cartledge, Don Searing, Alex Gibson, David Bird Steve Ike, and me) were on the job.

            We built for Rosa and Alexandro, a nice couple of indeterminate age. They have five children between 29 and 9, and are raising one of their grandchildren as well. Rosa makes a living doing washing and ironing, and is occasionally called by a family in the city to work for them, meaning in a good week she makes $25. Alexandro is disabled, having injured his back some time ago, and is effectively immobile. Their oldest son, 29, is a street vendor, selling bottled water, and is on occasion able to give some money to his parents. In this home live the couple, three children, and four grandchildren.

            The build went fairly well, no real problems, and we finished it with a wee bit of energy, thanked the family for the privilege of serving them, then gave them one of the Easter Crosses from a couple of years ago, along with a replica of the stained glass window at Peachtree Presbyterian (we do this for every home we build).

            Team Ivan (Chris Southerland, John Snodgrass, Bill Schaeffer, Mike Elting, Joe Ellis, and Doug Grady) left us, and moved to their build site, where they constructed a home for Nellie and her husband Jaime. Jaime was not at the build, as he has a job driving one of the potable water trucks that prowl the areas where we build. There is absolutely no infrastructure in these outlying areas, electricity is a miracle (that is vampired on a regular basis), and with no plumbing, these trucks drive around pumping water into 55 gallon drums at the homes.

            The build went well for this family that also includes four children between 17 and three. Nellie is a fiercely proud lady who is delighted to move out of her dilapidated shack of a home behind where this home was constructed; as dilapidated as it was on the outside, and even with the sagging floors, it was a neat, well-kept home, and as the team was leaving, one of the children was sweeping out the new home in anticipation of moving in.

            After a stop at out usual watering hole, where we were surprised by a rain shower (quite unusual for this time of year), we made a stop to restock out water and Gatorade supply (you would be stunned at the amount of fluids we consume daily), had a good debriefing session after cleaning up, and ate a dinner of cannelloni, rice and vegetables.

            Looks like tonight is movie night, and the guys are watching an educational film about the evils of gambling. It’s called Casino Royale.

            We will worship with our hands tomorrow, building again before we worship with our hearts and have Communion.

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