new post from Bruce in Honduras!
We worked until dark on the church last night. Our day began with a conversation of encouragement between our team and the Honduran volunteers. Our goal was high; assemble the rest of the second floor framing and cap it with a 4” layer of concrete. Pretty easily managed back in the States but there were some special challenges here.
The floor framing is metal and instead of being nailed together, it needed to be welded. Our welder is a little old and the power supply at the church is a little weak. We would also need 5 cubic yards of concrete, mixed on the ground and transferred to the floor one five gallon bucket at a time.
However, we also had several special advantages, the volunteers from the church. There was a group of Jr & Sr. High young men as well as some more “seasoned” men. Not only did we have a nice number of volunteers but everyone came with a “can-do” attitude.
The local method of concrete mixing is not something we would consider back home, it’s just a lot of work!
- Step one: Assemble the ingredients in a pile on the ground: 2-wheelbarrows of sand, 3-wheelbarrows of gravel and two bags of cement.
- Step two: With a shovel, work through the pile of ingredients from one side to another, turning it as you go to thoroughly mix the ingredients together.
- Step three: Repeat.
- Step four: Reshape the ingredient pile to resemble the top of a volcano, with a crater in the middle.
- Step five: With a bucket, pour in 25 gallons of water,
- Step six: Without allowing the water to escape the crater, fold the ingredients inward into the water. Continue folding until water and dry ingredients magically join to become what is known as “mud”.
- Step seven: Start filling 5-gallon buckets with mud and move them to where the concrete slab is being poured.
And so it went all day long and indeed we did end the day with our new concrete floor ! Yea team !!
During the day a few jets heading to the airport passed overhead. It’s interesting how small the airport is for a city of 1.5 million. Only a little larger than Bellingham Airport. Sometimes they will fly twice around. It’s a challenging airport to land in, short runway and always a lot of smoke in the air. If there isn’t 5km of visibility, they fly to another city to land, When they do land in Teguc. they slam the brakes on almost as soon as the wheels touch down.
It’s interesting how we gringos look up at the planes passing overhead and think of how easy it will be for us to fly back to our perfect homes. Yet our co-workers don't seem to even notice the plane.
As darkness fell quickly at the end of this workday, Jeffrey, Harrison & I shared a poignant moment together. We sat on the steps outside the church, our backs up against the still warm stucco security wall. In the valley below us lay the blanket of Tegucigalpa’s lights. The temperature had settled to that place where you're perfectly comfortable. As the stars began their display and the three of us sat appreciating the moment, I expressed in my meager Spanish ,“esta bueno noches”. Jeffrey nodded in agreement as Harrison replied quietly in his meager English , “Yes, it’s a nice night”.
“Nice” is such a simple word. On this night, it spoke of a fitting end to a day of difficult work together. But even more, it spoke of how “nice” it is to set aside differences of nationalities and language in favor of those more significant things we share in common. Especially our common bond of brotherhood in Christ.