Thursday, August 9, 2012

Day #6

Today was our final day of ministry, and we had mixed feelings about it.  It has been an exhausting week, but a great week, and it's sad that it has come to a close.

We spent the day in Armenia Bonito again.  We found some more cool bugs.  This ant was about half an inch long in the torso, about an inch long including legs, and had huge jaws.  It would bite your fingernail and just hang there.  We also saw leafcutter ants, which were really cool.  They climb up to the top of the trees and cut out pieces of leaves to carry back to their homes, where they grow mold on them that the ants can eat.  It's the kind of thing I've seen on TV, but never in person.  It was pretty cool.

After we left yesterday the foreman changed his mind about putting block in the trench, and took it out.  The five of us (not including Jon and Daniel) spent the day mixing cement and carrying cement and river rock over to fill the trench.  It's amazing how tiring mixing the cement can be.

 Jon and Daniel stayed back at the other house and built more window frames, installed three door frames, and laid about four courses of block on the east wall of the house.

There were giant cows in Armenia Bonito, and the Honduras moved them from pen to pen throughout the day to graze.  One of the pens they were in was right in the middle of our path between the two houses, and we were walking right by these big bulls that didn't care at all.  It was a bit unnerving at first, but they were completely disinterested.

This is the wife of the man we are working with to finish his septic tank washing her laundry.  The town of Armenia Bonito actually has running water, and it is a cleaner supply than the people of La Ceiba.  It comes from up river, is gravity fed, and they chlorinate the water.  The basin is pretty dirty, but the water coming out of the facet is clean.  Not clean enough that we would drink it (we've only been drinking bottled water all week), but clean for them.

Here are the directions on bag of cement for different ways to mix it.  We use a recipe of 3 wheelbarrows full of rocky sand to 1.5 buckets of water to make cement. Richard got a good video of the concrete volcano process.  I'll try to post it later tonight if the internet connection here is up for it. (UPDATE--connection is not up for it.  Will have to post from back home).

This is what it looks like now that we're done.  There is just a little more cement to put in at a level surface, and then they will lay block on top of that, followed by a cement cap.  It felt like we'd never get as far as we did, but at the same time I felt like we should have gotten more done.

Here are the door frames that Jon and Daniel installed.

Here are the people we've been working with.  The man on the top right is who the house is being built for.

This little guy's name is Alejandro, and he is a huge helper to Erin.  He helped with the dental clinic both days, and he always helps when Erin puts on medical clinic (once a week).  He can take blood pressure readings, check in patients, and do lots of little things.  He is definitely one of the sweetest kids here.

We were initially going to be working all day at the job site, but we decided that we really enjoy the time with the kids, so we spent the afternoon back on the soccer court.  It was a little slow at first because the kids thought we weren't going to be there, but they eventually showed up.  Daniel became a new favorite among the girls with his jump rope skills.  Here he is doing push-up jump roping.  He maxed out at 7.

All three soccer balls I took are shot.  At least this one made a nice chair for a little girl.  I left my indoor soccer shoes here.  I want to send more cleats and stuff down.  They love soccer so much here.  Mike said there are kids whose families are dirt poor, but they all try to get ~$100 cleats to play on their teams with.  I'd like to find some good deals and send a bunch of cleats down.

Mike has a mean whiffle ball pitch.  Here he is striking Jon out.

I have really enjoyed spending time with the kids.  I got to pass the ball with Johannesis again today for a while, and also play with some of the older kids as well.  I'm amazed with how much Spanish is coming back to me.  It's been seven years since I've had any Spanish class, so I thought I might remember a few easy phrases to say, but that I wouldn't be able to understand anything they said.  Somehow, it's all coming back.  Instead, I'm having a harder time remember how to say things, and I'm able to understand a lot (40~60%) of what they are saying, and I can usually infer the rest.  Thank you, Mrs. Hancock.

Richard was our major casualty this week.  He had the trauma yesterday with his tooth, and also scraped his knees and banged his head falling on the concrete soccer court.  Today, he was standing on the back of Mike's truck while we were hauling supplies, and a plank of wood in the back caught a streetlight on the side of the road, sending Richard flying into a big puddle.  He landed feet first, spun, and then went down.  Thankfully, he was alright, but then he spent the rest of the afternoon puking his guts out because of some stomach bug.  He went straight back to the dorms after dinner and has been sleeping ever since.  He wants to join us tomorrow, but we need to see if it's smart, given his condition.  Richard's a trooper, though, and he's had a great attitude all week.

We went out to eat tonight to a restaurant that served traditional food from Honduras and El Salvador.  We had taquitos (which are a little bigger than the ones we get in the states), badellas (Mike described this as Honduran put a tortilla, sauce, and anything else on it.  Ours had eggs and some other stuff, and it tasted more like a breakfast taco), some flatbread pancake things with cheese inside, and tahadas (plantain chips).  It was all very good.

From there, we went to an indoor soccer facility that Mike rented out for an hour.  It was covered and had block wall to 4 feet, then chainlink fence on the rest.  It had decent turf on it, too.  Our whole team, a few of the MTW folks, and about 1/3 of the South Carolina team played.  We were a little bummed that John Clow couldn't come.  He played soccer at Le Tourneau, so it would have been fun to play with him.  The game was definitely mixed skill level, and there were some older folks playing from the South Carolina team.  I may have knocked a couple of them down.  After a morning of working, an afternoon of playing with the kids, and an hour playing indoor soccer we can barely move.  I think I was more wet today after soccer than the day when we were working in the rain all day.  Humidity is killer.

Early day tomorrow heading out to a nearby island to snorkel. It's weird because we are basically tourists/vacationers at this point, but we are still surrounded by such great need and poverty.

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