Two Teams, Two Homes

June 8, 2013

Jose and Narcissa familyJoe Eliis making the presentationDay Two dawned cloudy, just the way we like it. When you are two degrees south of the Equator, that puts you closer to the sun, so it’s really nice when you are working outside, and doing manual labor, to have some nice cloud cover. Someone commented when we reached the Hogar facilities how nice the clouds were, and I immediately “shushed” him, not wanting us to be cursed. Moments later, the sun came out—but mercifully only for a short time, and the clouds came back for the better part of the day.
We broke up into two teams today, in order to build two homes. Team Ivan (both teams named for the “maestros,” or master carpenters that we work with) is comprised of Chris Southerland, Ed Easterlin, Bill Schaeffer, Reid Barker, Joe Ellis, and Scott MacKenzie.
This team had an interesting day, dare I say a “barakah” day. Barakah is a Hebrew word that mean, depending on the context, either blessing or curse. Their curse was that the auger they were using sheared a pin after digging three of their (nine) holes, making the rest to be completed using post hole diggers. Repairs were attempted, and tomorrow will be an interesting day as spare parts are cobbled from old augers and some bolts we brought with us.
The blessing was the family they built for: Fabian and Asuena, and their eight children, all between the ages of one and thirteen. The family was a very grateful clan, cheerful through the day, helpful on the build and when things went wrong, as well (the auger). This was no doubt shown best when, after the presentation of the Ascension window to the family, all of the children presented each of the guys with a handwritten Thank-you note.
This family, supported by Fabian selling drinks on the streets from the cart on the front of an old bicycle, was perhaps more appreciative of any family we have ever been privileged to serve.

Team Gato (Robert Owen, Marty Klein, Jim Beddingfield, Chris Hamilton, Bill Boone, and Chuck Roberts) built for another “nuclear” family, but not one as large. Jose and Narcissa have three children, and Jose—when he has work, is a laborer, hauling pipes to build sites and other projects. In a good week, which is not often, he can clear $85. Similarly, this family was cheerful, helpful, and very kind.
Interestingly, only the middle child—the only son—attends school, following a cultural pattern. The older girl, Amber, was attentive and curious all day long. At one point in the day, Boli asked Amber where she was going to sleep, and she responded, “In the room with the window.”
Think about what a blessing that is to this little girl, to look forward to sleeping in a room with a window—something that so many of us take for granted, so much so that we do not even pause to look out the windows of our homes to see the world God has given us to care for.
Tonight at dinner, we reflected on the verse “Of those to whom much has been given, much is expected,” and realized that while we came here to build homes, we also came to invest in lives—the lives of the families we are privileged to serve . . . and that it is in giving of ourselves, that God gives us more to give back.
We truly are blessed.


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