Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Finishing House 2, and the Guatemalan Barrio

Tom hangs the stringers

It was cold and very windy this morning as the combined crew arrived at House 2 for an 8:30 a.m. start, but by 10:00 the wind had died down and it wasn't so bad.

Mel didn't come back today, figuring correctly that we had plenty of help. Mel's wife, Jane, had only joined us the first day. There were 13 Americans left to do the finish work on House 2, plus the two-person crew of Mario and The Maestro that Ed had hired to lay the tin roof, and also the man of the family who would be occupying the new home.

Looks just like his grandpa, doesn't he?

Tom worked well with the Mexican crew hanging the roof stringers, while the rest of us finished building the doors, hung and calked the rest of the windows, and did the other finish work.

By the time the stringers were ready, Mario had returned with the rest of the tin, and he and The Maestro started laying the roof.

Brian & The Maestro do finish carpentry

House 2, almost done

At noon, with both houses complete, the American crew went over to the main drag of Nuevo Progresso for lunch at La Fogata Mexican Restaurante. It's a nice restaurant with great food, and they even validate your parking.

After lunch, we went back to House 2 to collect our tools and have a little dedication ceremony where we turned the new house over to the family. We sang a couple of songs, Bob said a few words (in Spanish, good job, Bob), and we left some gifts of food and household items.

Bob & Joan dedicate House 2

On the way back to House 1, we stopped by the poorest section of Nuevo Progresso, the Guatemalan slum. These refugees apparently fled Guatemala when their town was destroyed by a mudslide.

A home in the Guatemalan barrio

It was Gloria who told Ed that these were the neediest people in town, and I saw nothing to contradict that. We didn't have much food left at this point, but we gave out what we had, plus a few tools, quite a bit of clothing, and some toys and candy for the kids. Everyone wished we'd had more to give them.

Distributing clothing

Candy for the kiddos

When we ran out of anything more for the poor Guatemalans, we proceeded to House 1. Those of us who had been on the crew of House 2 yesterday hadn't yet seen the finished project.

House 2 completed

Due to the muddy conditions, and since the walls were built laying down and then raised, the outsides of the walls had our muddy footprints all over them, but Ed left the family some paint and supplies to take care of it. We had another dedication ceremony with this family, and our work here was done.

Tom makes friends

The lady of the house, looking pretty excited

I was driving right behind my dad as we re-entered the United States, and he thought it would be super hilarious if he told the border agent to give me a hard time. Hardy-har-har. Great, another funny border guard. I told the guard that my dad was really the one that needed scrutiny, and if he saw him come through again, he'd better be on the lookout.

Following Dad across the border

Ed and Joan decided they'd like to buy some more food and go back to see the Guatemalans again tomorrow, so Ed and D.J. went to Sam's Club, where Ed bought 200-300 pounds of rice and 200-300 pounds of beans to give away, while the rest of us returned to the hotel.

Everybody was on their own for dinner. Tom and I had sandwiches and then hung out with Brian and Mooney in their room for a while, but we called it an early night.

Continue to Day 11

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