Thursday, October 10, 2013

Thursday in Guatemala

Today started with the anticipation of a dry day and we decided to do some laundry.  This was on the wash board out back and the clothesline strung in our back yard.  This mornings washers were Dianne, Garry, Juli and Kelly - a group effort.  

Some small groups then went for a walk in the town and all unexpectedly arrived together in the Hardware Store.  Here with our excellent command of the Spanish language we tried to buy a drywall dimpler for the property project!  After several sad tries to explain our request Tim showed a picture of the tool on his phone.  At this point it was confirmed they had no such item. It was decided pliers and a Philips screw driver as plan B.

When we returned a wonderful breakfast of pancakes and fresh fruit and eggs was on the table and we share in our morning devotional.

A team of 4 went to discover the village of La Hermita, where there is no school, but an active community, as word of mouth travelled the children came in droves to participate in our games and crafts.  

The Alpha Y Omega Church had a dirt floor, with cinderblock pews, but was a large enough area for Brian to do parachute games with the kids.  Unfortunately this resulted in a “dust bowl” but the kids loved every minute of it!  Suzanne, Angela and Juli taught the children and mothers how to make friendship bracelets – the children all loved the craft and one woman Rosa showed us how she makes the traditional woven friendship bracelets.  
She was kind enough to make each of us one and we made one for her in return – “friends for life.”   This was a community with much need, we met a little girl no more than 3 who is taking treatments for Lukemia, and another little 3 year old boy Juanito whose mother recently passed away.  He had a heartbreaking story but a smile that would melt any heart. 
  We offered goody bags for each child and they were so excited to each receive such a gift.

The property project (Kelly and Dianne) was off to a great start with the discovery of a four leaf clover near the entrance.  

By the end of the morning two walls were framed and dry walled   Alicia (Guatemalan Liason) was happy to return with a drywall gun to make the project easier. 
Dry wall is not something that most people have seen in this area so this was a difficult purchase that required a trip to a near by town and five stores before one was found.  

In the afternoon a 16ft wall was framed and the lower half was dry walled.  Alicia spent the afternoon with the property group offering great humor and lots of teasing.  It was a successful day and the electrician is scheduled to arrive at 5am tomorrow morning so the walls can be completed tomorrow. 

The lunch of the day consisted of hamburgers.  The burgers were great except for Tim’s as he forgot to add the burger.  This was a great demonstration of his building skills as pointed out by Kelly.

Upon arriving in Parraxaj, Suzanne and Angela were dropped off at the local school.  They then walked to the home of one of the local women where they were helping 5 women refine their sewing skills and marketing to encourage self-sustainability.  The sewing machine was in the bedroom of one of the local ladies.  In all, there were 10 women, 6 children and a dog in the room.  Suzanne began to help fine-tune their craft through an interpreter.  Once the rains came, the sound of the raindrops on the tin roof made it difficult to hear, but they persevered.  The women were very gracious and grateful for the help.  They were happy to know they were going to see them the following day to continue with their work. 

The build a home project started with walls being carried to the cement pad and then individually put up 1 by 1.  Tim hammered the nails through the boards into the cement and once that was done Garry would drill holes for lag bolts to attach the 2 walls together. 
Peggy followed up with the bolt insertion while Doug applied the nuts and washers.  We got to the last wall and Peggy then asked Doug if he preferred to apply the nuts and bolts from the left or the right.  Unfortunately her wording was “Doug how do you prefer to screw?"  Once the walls were up it was time to do the roof supports.  The homeowner unfortunately couldn’t reach the roof therefore he used a wooden crate plus a cinder block plus a pail to get enough height.  Definitely not the safest approach, but without a ladder, what do you do?

In the afternoon the team was driven back out to Corrales to work on the project however was driven by the homeowner and the community van.  Once at the project home the group mounted the door, the window and the roof.
Unfortunately the door fell and split one of the side boards.  Brian and Tim had to rebuild the door which was the formation of the CF Alliance.  Eventually the door was built again and hinges were applied.  The hinges were applied with screws however the screwdriver wasn’t good enough therefore they were hammered into place.  Peggy and Doug built the window and applied the hinges as well.
Lastly we spent 20 minutes with the family fitting them with shoes and came back to a lovely dinner.
This consisted of pollo (Chicken) some local squash, beans, carrots and corn.  A great meal after a hard days work.  We are now convening and in tears of laughter, and sharing emotional stories after our meal to right this blog.  Our day wrapped up with one word from each of us:  Fantasitc, Emotional, Unforgettable, Humorous, Exciting, Amazing, Fulfillment, Challenging, CF'ism-Mania, Joyous.

Dianne Pelletier, Tim Myers, Suzanne Lee, Juli Conard-Myers


  1. Love watching your progress, the smiley faces.......what a difference you are making in the lives of others......a true Thanksgiving! Xoxo

  2. Thanks - it has been an incredible experience so far...I know we are doing so much, but there is so much more that can be done :(