When we arrived in La Ceiba, we learned that our team would not only have the opportunity to help build the house that we sent money for, but also to help with a second house! It would be tight to get all the work done, but we had just enough people to go around, so we divide off and set to our tasks.
Two doctors were on our team, and they spend Monday seeing patients in the clinic. We didn’t bring any support staff for them, so two ladies volunteered to stay and so some admin work in the clinic…sorting and organizing files, helping to put away the mountains of meds that were donated, etc.
Another group set off to Jutiapa to get to work on a house for a great young couple, Sadit and Sandra. Sadit is a group leader in the church, a public school teacher. They still lived in the traditional ‘starter home’ for his family, which was a bamboo frame bricked with mud. The new home would allow the church a home base in Jutiapa, and be a great space for Sadit to host small group functions. The old home had an outdoor bathroom, which was hooked up to a septic tank, so that work was already completed. The team of Honduran builders had already put up the cement block walls, so work for the week would be filling and pouring concrete on the floors and porch areas, plumbing the indoor bathroom, windows and doors, and the entire electrical system of the house. The Honduran team set to work putting the roof on while our team started filling and leveling rooms for concrete.
The second construction team set off to begin work on what we would affectionately call ‘The Hill”. The mountain would probably have been a more accurate description of it, and the team would need to first carry up all needed supplies up the mountain before they could be used to build the house. Several weeks ago, our team sent down the $4000 needed for the home. Yes, $4000 is all that it takes to build a basic, but safe and modern home, in Honduras. The Honduran team had already chiseled a plateau into the side of the mountain, leveled the foundation, and put up the block walls. The team spent Monday digging the hole for the septic tank and carrying lumber and sheet metal (for the roof) and sand up the hill.
This house still needed some windows put together, so two other team members set off to working on those. They were simple windows, frames and shutters….but still more than the family had ever had in the past. Nice, great big windows to let in the sun and to look out and see the beautiful mountains surrounding their home. They spent the day constructing the 4 windows that would grace this mountain home.
I got to spend Monday in the CNI! I’ve thought about these kids for two years, and missed them so much…and it was wonderful to see them again. There are many differences though. First off, two years ago there were about 45 kids attending the CNI. Now, there are 91! They have a set schedule for each day that helps to provide the kids a sense of rules, structure, and responsibility. There are 3 really awesome people working with these kids every day, helping them with their homework, teaching them english, and doing devotionals.
We also started teaching them the english words for parts of the body. They have already learned their numbers, colors, and some of the alphabet in english, so we started off with ‘Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes’ (and added hand and stomach in there for fun).
The kids loved sticking post it notes on us to help them remember which part goes where!
In between, there was just plenty of time to talk and play with the kids. I know it sounds crazy, but I swear a few of them remembered me. I mean, if it were me….I wouldn’t remember some gringa that came for a week (amid all the other gringas that come for a week) two years ago. But there were 3 of the kids, once that I really connected with last time, and they ran right up to me with hugs and smiles the moment they saw me. It really seemed like the recognized me. It’s a crazy and conceited idea, but it really warmed my heart.
Let me just say….my compliments to the chef! We had the same (mostly) lunch as the kids each day and it was SO good. So often we would say “Oh, I’m not really hungry, I’ll just eat a little” and next thing you knew….it was gone. In addition to the lunch provided, the kids are now given a snack. Rebeccah (the CNI administrator) was noticing that the kids were coming with empty bellies….just longing for lunch. So now they get a kind of protein milk thing 3 days a week, and cookies the other two days. For some of the children, this may be the only meal that they get for sure each day. I’m so glad that it’s a good one!
After the afternoon kids left for home, we started unpacking all the stuff we brought! There were so many groups that wanted to help in some way, we ended up with a LOT of stuff. So many things for the prize box (good behavior is rewarded weekly!) that Rebeccah needed a new prize box (aka, obnoxious orange suitcase).
New socks and underwear for the kids, school supplies to replace as needed during the year, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and deodorant.
And some weird random stuff…that I’m not sure how she’s going to give away….or what purpose they were serve….but they were just too cute for me not to take. I know if I had to walk down a muddy hill during the rainy season, I would want cute boots.