Friday was a big day for our team. We were all to work until just after lunch, then the whole team would head out to the house in Jutiapa to dedicate it and hand over the keys.
Sandra and Sadit were very very excited and had started preparing for the celebration on Thursday. They slaughtered a sheep and some rabbits and started preparing those, much to the amazement of our team of workers. None of the ladies had ever seen that before, so it was pretty interesting to watch (and I’m a little sad to have missed it). Here in the states, we often forget exactly how all that meat we’re eating gets to our table, and it was humbling to see the real work that goes into preparing food when you can’t just run down to the supermarket and pick it up all nicely wrapped in cellophane. This is something that seems so foreign (and icky, to some of us) but something that is completely natural to them. Even the kids helped.
I headed back to the house in Jutiapa Friday morning to help put the last finishing touches on the house with just a few other team mates. The house on the hill still needed a good bit of work for it’s own dedication, so we wanted to send as many team mates there to work as possible. By the time we got there, Sandra had already killed and prepared the chickens and was setting them to marinate with the other meat. She had obviously gotten up quite early. This house dedication was going to be a big deal not just for her and Sadit, but for their whole community.
Kevin was finishing up the house’s electrical system, and his wife Judy helped with that. Loretta and I set to work straight away digging a ditch for the water intake.
I love construction in Honduras. So often, when I’m wanting to get something done at home, I get a speech on: 1. How I (or we) are not qualified to do such work. 2. How I need a better plan before starting. 3. How I (or we) don’t have the right tools for the job. In Honduras, you just do it. You work with what you have and get it done. For the water intake, they looked at where it needed to hook up to the house, where the valve on the road was, laid a pipe on the ground, curved it around a tree, and said “Dig there. Not deep, just 6 inches or so.”
Most of it was pretty easy digging. Except the day before, the team had moved the mountain of sand (for cement mixing) to a nice out of the way place. Right where our ditch needed to go. So we had to move that then dig. Also, part of the ditch ran through where we’d been mixing cement for the past 4 days, so the ground was…..a little hard there. That required use of the pick ax. Loretta did a pretty decent job with it, but when she needed a break and I took over…..oh it was bad. For a few minutes, I’m pretty sure the foreman and workers just laughed at me. Then they got genuinely concerned that I might hurt myself or others, took the pickax from me and sent me back to shoveling! (thank you!)
That made for pretty quick work, then we cleaned up around the property some. Garbage service is not standard in Honduras, and many people just throw their trash on the ground. The government is working hard to educate people to things like this that damage the environment (like throwing trash on the ground, doing laundry with caustic soaps in the streams and rivers, etc) but it’s a slow process getting people to change the ways they’ve grown up with. Sandra and Sadit were very clean, as were all the workers helping on the house. But the rest of the neighborhood…not always. It was also surprising what we would dig out of the ground. In some areas, there was just as much weird trash buried as actual dirt. This was not the first ‘clean up’ at the site, but was the final one, to make the house look nice as possible for the dedication.
Then we set to work removing nails from boards. Both the nails and the boards were to be kept for use in other projects. Those nails did NOT want to come out! We spent an hour sweating over those stupid boards. I hit my hand with the hammer. I wacked my ankle on a flying board (flying because in an effort to get a nail out, I was wacking it against a rock and it went flying). Then the thought occured to me that if we added a small stone under the hammer, it might work better. And they came out like butter. Simple physics……
We had some help. This little guy hung out with us for most of the week, and was eager to help out with whatever he could.
Sadit spend much of the day running errands, picking up things that were needed. On his motorcycle. He even gave Loretta and I rides around the neighborhood, which (for me) was totally crazy.
We had asked Merphran not to make an extra trip out (it was 45 minutes away from the church, so that would be at least an extra hour and a half of driving) with our lunches, so we gathered all our snacks and shared. Then we asked our interpreter, Sammy, to walk us down the road to the little pulperia for a few more snacks. And just for the novelty of it. We had time to talk to Sadit about his community. While he is a teacher, most of the other men in the village are farm workers. They primarily work in the banana or melon fields, which surround the town. It was laundry day, so everyone had their wash drying on the line and making the whole place smell fresh and clean.
Then, the people began to show up. Everyone who had come by to help with the house all week, they had gone home, changed into their finest clothes, and came to take part in the celebration. The women helped Sandra slice and prepare fruits and vegetables. The men helped to set up sound equipment for music, and the grills for cooking the meet. The kids sat and patiently waited. For several hours. Without complaining or fighting with each other.
Then the big blue bus pulled up with the rest of our team. We showed everyone around a bit, so that those who had not yet been to this house could see everything.
Then, the dedication began. Both our pastor (Tim) and the head pastor in Honduras (Dago) said a few words:
Kevin Wickey had been our foreman at this house, working hard here every day, so he gave the keys over to Sandra and Sadit. His wife, Judy, gave them a few housewarming gifts. A Bible and a small plaque with Joshua 24:15 in Spanish on it.
They were so sweet, and grateful. It’s pretty amazing to think that these are not just friends we’ve made for life, but even if we never make it back to visit them in Jutiapa, one day we will see them in heaven, and be able to talk about the great week on earth that we shared.
Some real hard workers! These are the guys that really knew what they are doing. Thank goodness, because I can’t imagine what a house would end up looking like if I were left to my own devices to build it!
Sadit sang some worship songs, and others from the church in La Ceiba joined him as well.
Some people leave an imprint on your heart, and I know that Sadit and Sandra will forever be in mine.