Jul 23, 2011

Make the House a Home!!!

Yesterday we had the fun task of shopping for items to help "Make the House a Home"!! Our first stop was the local furniture store... Sami's!!  There are not too many options for stores (no Walmarts or Ikea!!) so you make do with what is available.

We chose 3 sets of tables and chairs, 3 dressers and this pile of mattresses!

Next we found a bike store as one of the dads had a bike as one of his top priorities as an "extra treat" and method of transportation.  We picked a pretty blue one for him :)

Then it was off to the grocery store... 3 carts running up and down the aisles grabbing basics like rice, flour, beans, oil, salt, spices, then a few perishables like eggs, fruits and veggies.  We filled each cart and spent less than $100 per cart!!!

Meanwhile, back at the build site, half of the team members were finishing off some painting and building shelves, etc...

While others were cuddling a cute little kitten that was wandering around...

While others were making sure their hair was perfect...

And still others were loving on the neighborhood children who hang around everywhere!!!

We ended off the day with a super fun trip back to the community school yard where we showed the movie "Tangled" in Spanish with English subtitles and handed out popcorn and glowsticks for the kids.  We had to bring out a generator to run the projector, but boy did the children (and adults) giggle and enjoy the whole evening!

Jul 21, 2011

Raising the Roof

Hi from Lydon.... I don’t blog often so just bear with me and my assistant blogger, Danielle Crane.
Today we accomplished a lot at the work site. We finished the entire roof (and this task was not as easy as it sounds). We had to build it, lift it, sheet it, tar it, shingle it, nail it and most importantly admire it....that pretty much sums up the entire work day.
Manuel came to lunch with us at the local Pemex. Now I haven ’t read the other blogs yet so I don’t know if he has been mentioned yet. He’s a Mexican boy with amazing building habits and was helping out with the building, so we thought he deserved some lunch.  A couple years back, he got his own house built.....we’re brothers me and him.
Today Christine got covered in dirt, playing with Anna one of the children we built for last year (this year we’re building for her grandparents) and I Danielle, spent time with the sixteen year old daughter, Laura, painting together and watching a Mexican soap opera.
By the time we finished the roof, it was about 5:30, and then we went to visit the family that we built for a couple years back.
By the time we got home (or what feels like home now) it was about 7:00ish and we were given the choice between a shower or delicious meal consisting of... Well I’m not sure exactly. Some sort of taco I think...they called it Tostata. Personally I (Lyndon)  picked to food option... and so did Danielle. It was good and all but now that I’m blogging this I’m stating to think i chose poorly...but don’t worry Danielle had a shower!
Sincerely, your good friend, and mentor:  Lyndon  J skeet... and mostly Danielle Crane J

Dave Meyers here...

Man I haven't even had time to think today.  It was the busiest day yet for sure.  And I even ended up playing soccer with two neighborhood girls.  They finally started to warm up to me.

Today was "raise the roof day" where we basically did the facia, drip cap and shingles.  Things are just done so differently here and think we would have been done much quicker at home.  We had to use so many more nails here than we would have needed to in Canada.

The other thing today... I cannot stress how much I can't wait for the dedication day.  I can't wait to see the look on the mom, Rayna's face.  I spend a lot of time watching her as we build and you can see the excitement in her face building as well.   I was working on the bano yesterday and designed a simple lock for the door that can be used from the inside and she gave me the thumbs up, but then later went and used the old bano.  It's almost as though she's scared to use or claim the new one just yet.

And I should probably also mention that I received 3 paintings with my name on them from 3 cute little girls today.  Two of them gave them to me themselves, but the 3rd one gave it to Bethany to give to me.  I naturally will bring them home with me as they were pretty special.

Dave Meyers

Jul 20, 2011

Come Look Inside!

So this is the house the Orthner family is rebuilding for our family.  It's hard to tell from a photo how small it really is so I measured it today and it is 100 inches by 100 inches.  That is just over 8 feet square... for a family of 4... including their "bedroom", "kitchen" and living space... which is smaller than the ensuite I have in my home back in Canada.  Sobering!!!

I took this photo standing in their doorway... pretty much a bed (where all 4 sleep together) and a table and everything else has to hang on the walls (I'm going to ask tomorrow through our interpreter who plays the guitar :)

And speaking of ensuites... the bathrooms or "banos" in these "homes" are not inside, but rather outside... in a hole in the ground... 

This is a picture of one of our team members guarding the washroom while his wife uses the facilities!!!  

So Salarina (the mother) and her baby girl (Elizabeth) are super shy and timid and pretty much try to stay out of our way while we build.  They stand just outside the door to their old home for hours watching us.  Elizabeth is pretty scared of us and stays real close to mama and I can't get her to crack a smile if my life depended on it!!!  But she is still so darn cute and we are determined to win her heart by the end of the week :)

Betrice, the older daughter, can not NOT work!!!  She is a machine!!!  We encourage family members to participate in the build as it really helps them take ownership of their new home AND it helps us build a relationship with them so we are quite enjoying her assistance!!   She can paint, hammer and even used the nail gun today!!!

All in all, it has been an amazing adventure!  Physically the experience is pretty hard and emotionally it has been hard as well.  I found myself welling up today with unexpected emotion and almost lost it twice... once was when a boy in a wheelchair (he was missing one leg) pushed himself across the difficult terrain of the field towards our home and asked to help paint.  Turns out Hero Holidays had built him a home awhile back and he just wanted to pay it forward.  I took a photo and had to remind myself just to breath as I was so taken by the sight of him painting and the guesture of his love and care for this other family.  Many great life lessons we are ALL digesting... and it's ALL GOOD :)

Allison Orthner and family

Jul 19, 2011

Hola Amigos!! Day 1 of House Build!!

Hola amigos!

First day on the construction sites and it was awesome! We were divided into 3
different sites with our families.We each had different experiences that were
equally eye-opening.

The Silbernagel-Orthner-Mulcahy-Rick and Sharon-Skeet site
experienced fun building with the Mexican kids, awesome laughs, and yummy ice
cream! We also had interesting experiences with the bano which is a hole in
the ground surrounded by garbage bags ( The bathrooms).

The Cirankewitch-Crane-Kanwischer and Quaid-Oishi site had fun playing with Ana (the daughter from a house built last year) and interacting with the family on site trying out their spanish skills.

The Meyers-Herman-DeVries team had a fun filled day flying
kites with Javiar one of the boys were building the house for. The kite was
very cool, they were made out of whatever was available (garbage bags, bottles,
and string). We also painted with Eliza the little girl from the family we are
building for. Jesus, the other little boy, ran from person to person putting
smiles on all our faces with his endless amount of energy and happiness. The
Mother was extremely grateful and helped in whatever way she could.

And of course we had many great team building experiences while starting to build the
houses. The families receiving the homes were all eager to help and be involved
despite the language barrier between us. At the end of the day everyone was
feeling tired but still excited for what is going to come these next few days
and to connect even more with the families we are building for as well as the
families on the missions trip.

God Bless!

<3 Jenna, Lindsey, Lisa, Bethany's M & H

Jul 18, 2011

GBC finally arrives in Mexico!

After two very full days of bussing, we awoke this morning in our motel in San Diego and boarded the bus once more to drive across the Mexican border. 

You hear of the poverty here all the time but it is quite another thing to see it with your own eyes. On the San Diego side you see beautiful big homes and right on the other side of the border fence is shack after shack. The colors of the buildings are bright, in stark contrast to the futures of many of the people here. And yet they are still very happy. 

We went right to the area where we will start building tomorrow. We met the families and broke ourselves into three work groups - one for each family. 

We are so excited to get started! Our bellies are now full and we just need a good night’s sleep tonight and then the real adventure begins!