Bienvenidos! or in the Kaqchiquel dialect, "UTz XIX PICHIK" (We're happy that you came and that you are well).
The Global Village trip to San Lucas Toliman, Guatemala has begun. Thirteen intrepid Habi-trekkers have set out on an adventure to explore, build and impact the lives of deserving Guatemalan families for the better.- Tom Granger
First day of building! Made rebar, holes in U-blocks, mixed cement for footings, chipped a rock that was too high and hauled dirt in bags for the floor. Made good progress for the day under the guidance of Martin, the mason-the "Maestro" or the "Jeffe" - Boss.- Dave Thompson
Tuesday, October 11
Today was considerably easier than yesterday. Hauled a lot of blocks around, but with block lines it was not as difficult. Ellie had to talk Martin into letting us lay blocks, but so far seems pleased with the work.- Sean ("newbie" - one of four)
Wednesday, October 12
Rain, Rain, Go Away!
I anticipate our build site will be fine if and when we get back to it, but radar says the rain will be around at least another day. The poverty is everywhere and our effect is a small step in a long journey. Habitat is having a huge effect in Guatemala, but the need is even greater. We can only take the next step and hope others will too.- John B.
Thursday, October 13
Rain is the theme, but we somehow seem to keep making progress on our site. The Guatemalans' hard work, calm presence and desire to improve their lives and that of their children has been inspiring.
All and all it has been a wonderful (even if wet) experience. - Jim W.
Friday, October 14
The morning was our usual 7am gathering on the large patio for our breakfast. The house is really taking shape- looks like a house. There are seven courses of blocks, eight in some places and the windows are beginning to take shape.
Judy and I took a walk with the children and meandered around a "neighborhood" of very basic swellings. I estimate that we saw about 50 young kids in the area. The homes all had outdoor showers sponsored by U.S. A.I.D (US Aid for International Development).
The passion for service in this group of people is inspiring. I think it is safe to say that we really made a difference this week.
Thanks, Dave, Judy, Tom M., Tom E., Peter, Jim, Sean, Keith, Ray, John, Jack and of course my Tom for making this week such a memorable experience.- Nancy G.
Sunday, October 16
Already feeling like I've stepped back through the looking glass. Did it really happen? What stood out for me?
#1- Clive. Clive Rainey is an amazing guy to meet. Not only is his history with Habitat unmatched, but he is a wealth of informationand stories and he lives out his Christan faith better than anyone else I know.
#2- Esvin. "Pedrooo!" "Esvinnn!" At first I thought homewoner Esvin was gently poking fun at me and maybe he was, but as the week went on I think a real mutual affection developed and when he said to me "siempre mi amigo, Pedro" at the closing ceremony I was deeply touched.
#3- The Team. I was a newcomer to a team that already knew each other and worked well together. Yet they made me feel welcome from the start.
#4- Ellie and Jamil. What a great duo! When Clive left us, Jamil stepped in. He's got personality, charm, a smile that makes all the chicas want to flirt with him and he's also a smart, caring individual who has chosen this life of service when his talents would bring him sucess in more individually rewarding pursuits. Ellie has a good heart and I hope she decides to stay in this kind of work.
#5- Rain, rain and more rain.
#6- The work.
#7- Guatemala and its people. A land of contrasts. In Guatemala City one can see wealth and new development on the same block with decay and squalor. Why do we in the U.S. have an embarassment of riches while Guatemala struggles? It's not because we are superior people for I have met Guatemalans and they are as kind, hard-working, as loving of their families, as talented as we are. Habitat is in the right place. A secure, stable roof over one's head makes a big difference.
I am thankful for such a great experience.- Pete S.