The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men

June 5, 2014

Wednesday evening, as Boli Alfaro, Chris Southerland (and our driver Samuel) were eating dinner, I received a text that let me know that the team of men–ten guys–headed to Ecuador to join us for our build trip–were delayed in Miami. Long story short, after several delays, they were told to disembark the aircraft, and that they would be spending the night in Miami. There was a mechanical problem with the aircraft (which was never explained), and their departure was moved from 6:55, to 7:30. To 8:00. Then 8:20, then 8:00 Thursday morning.

Thanks to modern communication, we were talking with them, texting, and tracking updates on an app. So the question became what to do, given the expectation that the earliest they would arrive and be ready to head out to work was 12:30/1:00.

Chris and I decided to head out as early as possible, meet our maestros (master carpenters) Ivan and Gatos, whom we have worked with for seven years, and see what we could get done. We left Schoenstaat around 8:00 AM, about the time the team left Miami. Delivered to the build site in Daule, a city some distance from Guayaquil, we met Gato and Ivan, and started work around 9:15. Here is the “before” picture:









We built for Vincento, an older gentlemen who was with us much of the day. He is 75, and has three children–11, 13, and 15, and his wife has left him, because she was younger and she did not like being with an old man. He works when he can, and makes do with that and government handouts.

Geez. Imagine being 75, and having three (almost) teenagers to raise on your own. The good news is that he has an older daughter who lives next to him, who we will build for tomorrow. She can help him. Hopefully more about that situation tomorrow.  Hut Vincent is a good man, and a faithful Christian, very humble and appreciative of what we have done for him. Here is the “after” picture, Chris and Chuck with Vincent, holding the replica of the stained glass Ascension Window from Peachtree Presbyterian Church, which we give each homeowner. Happy Vincento

It was a hot day, with the sun blazing intermittently, and Chris and I, along with Ivan and Gato, worked nonstop-without a break. Guzzling water and Gatorade (we call it GATO-rade), we finished the home between 2:00 and 2:30. In the meantime, the team had landed, processed through Passport and Customs, dropped bags at Schoenstaat and grabbed a quick lunch there, before heading out to Daule-just in time to find us enjoying an almost-cool Pilsner, relaxing after a long hard day.

But a good day. It was not what we planned, as we’d expected to have the entire team to help with the build, but as Steinbeck said, “the best laid plans of mice and men oft go astray.” Lord willing, we’ll be back on track tomorrow, building two homes.


One Response to “The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men”

  1. Jill Edee Says:

    Thank you so much for this blog. I am Eric’s wife. The kids and I are following your blog and praying for you all. We are so proud of the work you all are doing!!!

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