Yesterday, our delegation woke up early and fueled ourselves with a yummy breakfast here at Santisimo before hopping in a truck and heading out of town to a desolate area filled with bamboo shacks and dusty roads.
When we arrived, we saw a stack of simple building supplies – logs of bamboo, sheets of plywood, framing 1x1s, and wire. We immediately got to work cutting bamboo, nailing plywood to framing, and digging holes. Lots and lots of deep holes which would become the home to 16 bamboo posts to create the structure of the house. The work was laborious but everyone rolled up their sleeves and dove in, seeking out a new task as soon as the previous was finished.
We worked until 12:30 and then headed back to the parish for lunch and a siesta. Everyone was beat from working hard under the blazing sun. At 3pm, we headed back to finish the job. We hung the “walls” – simple weaved banana leaves to enclose the house. As we sweat and toiled to finish the house, the family and children from the “neighborhood” started to gather to see this new home brought to life.
At 5:30pm, we finished the house. Our team leader, Juan Carlos, gathered us with the family and snapped our photo in front of their new home. Then, he knocked on the door and symbolically, the matriarch of the family opened it and invited us all in. We gathered with the family and closed the door. As we stood, Juan Carlos said a prayer and then told us that this house was brought to life “through the grace and blessing of God and it is through this grace and our hard work that this family has a new home.” He continues by telling us that the family is “grateful to all of us who have come from so far away, leaving our own families, to provide a new life for them.”