Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Beginning Construction and Celebrating All Souls (Monday)

by Patsy Carlson

The day dawned bright and early with roosters crowing and all ready to head out on our first work day. Our work site is about 30 minutes from the hotel. We traveled on some roads that did not seem fit for beast, let alone a 15 passenger van! We were warmly greeted by Delphinia's mother, her son Jaimen, and a work crew that included Delphinia's sister, Reyna, who was ready to do sweat equity as we do with Habitat in the states.

The foundation and trench work were done and they were ready for the metal rebar framework to be placed in the trenches. This would make the house more able to withstand earthquakes. Concrete needed to be mixed and poured into the trenches all around the perimeter of the house. No cement truck shows up in this part of the world! A special ratio of sand, gravel and cement is mixed by hand with shovels. All of which is hauled by wheel barrows over uneven ground, up and down hill. Our crew was up to the task! Not only were the trenches filled, but also 1200 cement blocks were moved from the road above the site to the perimeter of the work site. All of us used muscles we hadn't used in a long time! Tomorrow we may be moving slower. Lunch is served on the site, as well as fruit and Gatorade for breaks.
Mixing cement by hand

Several in our group took time to visit a cemetery over lunch and saw the graves all decorated and people gathered for this holy day. It had started raining before they returned. Their van ride was pretty treacherous on slippery, muddy roads!

We are at the end of the rainy season here in El Salvador. It did rain for about an hour in the afternoon. Of course everything turned to mud and we were all a mess by the end of the day. Our warm showers back at the hotel never felt better!

We closed our evening after dinner with a shared prayer for the Feast of All Souls. Our time today was so very blessed with hard work and new friendships.

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