Monday, August 6, 2012

Day #3

Today was our first day of working, and we had a great day.  There are several missionaries down here, and they each have a different area/need that they focus on.  The other church that is with us is working in the village of La Fey, which is inside of La Ceiba on a river's edge.  We got to drive by and see it yesterday.  They are doing some construction, but also have a dentist with them, and he has been pulling lots of teeth already---something he swore he'd never do again some 20 odd years ago.  Another group of women from the other church is working on sewing with some local women.  We got to go out to Armenia Bonito, which is about a half hour drive and outside of La Ceiba.  It is up river and actually inside of the national rainforest area.  It is a poor community with about 3000 people, and is the focus of the Pettengill's ministry.  They are in the process of building a center with a high school, medical clinic, church, and indoor soccer field.  Below you can see pictures of the field and what will be the medical clinic.

I believe the team last year did some work on this complex, but another thing the Pettengills do is find the poorest of the poor in Armenia Bonito and build them houses.  They try to do 2 houses each summer, and the basic floor plan is 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, and a living room.  They have running water and electricity.  It costs the Pettengills just $1500 for to build a complete home.  The family we are helping build a house for is a single father (the mother has passed away) with four of his children and a nephew living there.  A picture is's literally a wood shack with dirt floors and just big enough to fit two queen mattresses.

Here's a picture of what it looked like when we showed up today.  The team last week laid the foundation, and we're working on filling up the floor and the walls.

They stressed very heavily the need to hydrate and not work too hard.  They get a lot of teams down here who push it way too far in the heat and humidity, and this summer has been their worst yet.  Lots of IVs and a few trips to the emergency room.  It's hard advice to follow, because you want to do as much as you possibly can to help, but pushing it too far and causing a medical incident is not what we want to do.  Richard stayed well hydrated.

Jon and Daniel spent most of the time laying blocks on the walls.  The rest of us hauled the blocks over to the work site and brought wheelbarrows full of dirt and rocks to fill in the floor.

Phil, Trevor, and I took turns digging a hole for an outhouse.  It's about a third complete in this picture.

To mix the mortar they make a "concrete volcano" where they basically put cement mix and sand in a pile on the ground and keep pile it up for a while to mix it, then hollow out the middle and pour in some water, and then start mixing again.

Here's how it looked the end of the first day.  You can see it rained quite a bit, which  made us stop early.  You can pray for the rain to hold off until the afternoon in the coming days so we can get as much work done as possible.

After working, we went back to the Pettengill's center in Armenia Bonito for lunch, and then waited around for the kids to arrive.  Mike puts on English classes for the kids on Monday afternoon, so we got to help with that, but a lot of the kids came early and we played soccer for a while, which was a lot of fun.  In English class the kids basically repeated simple questions and answers back and forth with us, and we were spread out among them at different tables correcting their pronunciation
The questions were things like: "What is your name?", "What is your favorite food?", or "Where do you live?".  I was impressed with the very evident desire the kids had to learn and to learn to say things correctly.  You could tell some didn't really care to be there, but most did and were trying very hard.  The kids like to give us gringos a hard time as well.  I worked with a table of 8-11 year old girls, and they were drawing all over me with pens.  It turns out on my arm they wrote something to the effect of "You are ugly when you take off your hat because you have no hair."  Nice kids.  It was fun working with them, and we're hoping to see many again tomorrow at the kids club Erin puts on.

I've seen the emails about the tropical storm/hurricane, and it looks like it has turned north of us, so no worries there.  We are seeing some rain, but should not be in any danger.  It's pouring right now.  We're just hoping it'll stay dry so we can work tomorrow.  We did name a small lizard we found in our room "Ernesto" in honor of the storm.  There are lots of critters out here, and we'll hopefully get to see some more on Wednesday when we go up to the river in the rainforest to swim with the kids.


  1. Zach...thanks so much for your updates. I especially enjoyed this one imagining you with that group of girls and how they were picking on you!! And we are so glad the storm is turning north...been praying since last week. The pictures are very much appreciated...worth at least a thousand words. May God continue to bless all your efforts and interactions with the people you come in contact with.

    Mom J

  2. Likewise Zach! Thanks for the updates. I am eager to get home and check them to see how God is working through you all. Excited for all your opportunities to serve and exemplify Christ in word and deed.

    Be safe, be blessed,

    Bro J :)

  3. Praying often for all of you guys! I, too, enjoyed thinking about those girls giving you a hard time : ) Praying for God's continued blessing on this trip!!