A post by Team Leader, Rick Fulton
Wow….what a day! Because of the fact that we have such a large team, we broke into three teams today.
The first team moved dirt, prepared a foundation, mixed the cement, by hand, and laid concrete in the foundation and the floor of the 14 x 24 home. The home will be built tomorrow by one of our teams).
Annette and I and the Robersons’ were on this slab crew. We were joined by Bethel employees Juanito and Jorge and Bethel Summer Intern, Brittany. What a great crew! Slab work is tough! First off the home site was on top of a hill that had a narrow steep path for access! The area where we worked was a space only about 16 x 26 (with the foundation taking up 14×24)! What a view!
Check out the video of the climb to our perch for the day.
So, the raw materials for the slab are: sand, rock, water and concrete mix. We were happy that the rock and sand had been delivered prior to our project start time. However, we had to mix this by hand with shovels and hoes. The sand was in one location and had to be moved by bucket about 30 feet down a steep embankment. The rock had to be moved by bucket up a steep embankment about 50 feet too!
Juanito has a real system in the cement mixing. We build a volcano in the middle of the block foundation. The Volcano consists of a mountain of sand. I am thinking it was around 40- 5 gallon buckets. Then around 9 bags of dry concrete were dumped on top of that pile.
Then this volcano was scooped to the side into another volcano. This thoroughly mixed the sand and dry concrete. Then we moved it back again, to again mix it more.
Then, the mix was raked out and leveled into a pile that was about 20 feet in diameter. Next, we carried around 40 buckets of rock and dumped evenly across the mix.
Next, we formed a bucket brigade and dumped 15 buckets of water on this mix. After a bit, we started “pouring” the cement. This meant, we would mix by hand with shovels and hoes the water/rock/concrete/sand mix. When small areas were mixed to the proper consistency, we carried it by bucket to the area where it would be set. Then Jorge used a trowel and finished the cement.
The first half of the day was spent the leveling and the foundation. The “pouring” of the concrete took us from 1pm-4pm.
Needless to say, the work part wiped us out, physically! But, we all saw so many blessings in today!
First Blessing: the home we were preparing the slab for was the home of the little girl, Claudia, who we fitted for a wheelchair the day before! We had the blessing of being able to interact with her today as she watched us from her wheelchair! What a sweetie.
Second Blessing: Claudia’s brother, Sergio, what a little man at six years old! He is the man of the house, his father has abandoned them. We are pretty sure he had a minor case of club foot, and his left hand was not fully formed and basically non existent. This little fella had the heart of a lion. He was a tiny little guy, weighing maybe 50 pounds. He was underfoot all day, smiling, grabbing a shovel and moving sand. He would carry us buckets of water that weighed almost his weight and was smiling the whole time! He totally blessed all of us with his strength of body and character! I would love to see what God has in store for him, given the opportunity! Pray for his salvation and that he would serve God all the days of his life.
Third Blessing: We are in the rainy season! Yesterday it rained cats and dogs, most of the morning. If today we would have experienced rain, it would have been beyond a disaster! I don’t even want to think about it! However, prayers were answered and we had the most beautiful day full of sun and blue sky!
Fourth Blessing: Many of the mothers in the cluster of homes were out working in the fields to provide for the family. We were blessed to watch the brothers and sisters of infants lovingly care for their siblings. We saw seven year olds with babies in slings on their backs. It was a beautiful thing to see.
Tomorrow: We break into three teams again. We mix it up, but still doing a cement slab team, home build team and home visit team. The home build will be on the same site we worked on the cement today.
Personally, my day was completed by a real blessing!
Juanito and his whole family stopped by the hotel tonight after dinner. Juanito is a pastor at a church here in Tecpan and he is the construction foreman for Bethel Ministries.
For me personally my heart swells with joy with this family. Since first meeting them in 2011 and the subsequent trips (this my seventh trip to Guatemala), my love for my Guatemalan family continues to grow. Many thanks to Hanna for translating tonight as she translated for us to have some really meaningful conversation! I was also excited for some of the stories he shared with me that will be a later post regarding how mission trips like these can have some huge kingdom building results by providing an opportunity for these folks in need!
God is good all the time!