Monday, March 22, 2010

First Day of Work

Hola! This is Ellen -Today we did our first day of service with Common Hope/Familias de Esperanza. We loaded the pick up truck with iron rods, prefab walls, steel panels for the ceiling, shovels, buckets of boots (for mixing cement in a "volcano"), and three wheel barrows.

Half our group spent the afternoon doing "social work ," while the other half of us did construction. I did construction work - which involved moving a pile of sand to the center of the new house, with tired old wheel barrows - I'm passing to Juli now (La Reina del Martillo: Hammer Queen), to tell more -

Muchos gracias Espanyellin' (Professor Ellen Taylor) Today was a fantastic day delivering the materials to the site, touring Common Hope's educational and medical facilities. We met a young woman who shared her story with us, having been raised through Common Hopes sponsorship program. She is now a college student working on her business administration degree. I became very aware of the program coming full circle in hearing her story.

Later on after delivering the materials for the home being built this week, we noted the lack of adequate building equipment for example eleven people and one hammer. [which Reina del Martilla was given- Ellen here - then back to RM). Further noting that the hammer should have been a sledge hammer. Our team did a fantastic job once we figured out what was happening, language and cultural (gender specifically) barriers play a big role in expiditing the building process. Once we worked through the intial "What can I do?" we were super successful. We layed the framework, and moving a huge pile of dirt for the floor, in no time. The lady of the house seemed extremely happy to have us their, you will see her and her children in photos. Oh and yes, I do believe I did my Daddy proud today swinging the hammer in girlie style!- Turning it over to Miss Michelle.

My first day on site at Common Hope was spent at the home of a Guatemalan family. It took an hour before we began working- the local man, Felix, plus a Mayan man named Paublito laid out the metal frame for the home which we were to build upon. Meanwhile there were 9 of us hanging out waiting for instructions. Efficiency was probably compromised because of the language barrier. Once we began our work, we hauled dirt onto the future house site. Felix, who is learning English repeated the few phrases that he knew throughout our work- "Oh my goodness" (because that's what the tourists say, he explained) and "okie-dokie." The team was in great spirits, working hard and laughing lots. To complete our 2 1/2 hours of work (which didn't feel like enough for us) we finished with a group photo.

I've been tremendously impressed with the hospitality and general demeanor of the local people. I've felt like a part of the community. Their sense of community is infectious and the people are wonderfully kind. Looking forward to the social work visit tomorrow.

OK, back to Ellen - we're getting a little punchy now - and we're going to sleep soon. Will post more tomorrow after our "social work."

Ellen, Juli, and Michelle ~

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