Sunday, August 7, 2011

GUATEMALA 2011: (8) Concreto

"So what is our agenda today?" I asked Fontaine. We stood outside of Customs and Immigration, waiting on the rest of the team to exit the terminal. He turned to me and replied, "we have some concrete to mix and some block to lay."

I laughed at his joke... and then realized he was serious.

Finished Product...Pad for Basketball Court
We were to team up with the outgoing team and help them mix and spread the final 10 x 20 section. After making our way back to Mimi's House, we changed into our work clothes, splashed a little water on our faces, and blended in with the existing team. It didn't take long to pick up where we left off a year ago.

Tons of rock, sand, and cement turned with shovels and a hoe. Mix it on the ground and transport it in wheelbarrows. Down hill of course. The previous team had dug out and levelled the ground, and constructed their own tamper. Side by side worked Catalyst Team members, volunteers from the states, and local Guatemalans.

Everyone benefited: Mimi's house gets a basketball court, Guatemalans get employeed, and volunteers receieve training and an understanding of what it takes to accomplish a job Guate style. Over 1000 lbs of donations were also sorted and will soon be placed directly into the hands of people who can use them.

Later in the week I will post pictures of how these beautiful families are living now, and then by week end you will see the photographs of the finished products. I challenge you now to focus on their and our faces. What we are here to accomplish is not about the structures so much as it is about forever changing the outcome of destinies.

The stories are simply arresting. A widowed mother with five young children, a young husband and father who lost his arm in an industrial accident. People who find themselves shattered by life.

For me, this is about a "true religion." This conviction that Kellie and I have felt is one that is shared by the members of this excursion and this ministry. Those who have been left wanting. Left out. Left behind. What we do when we see them... defines who we are.

We have a great deal of labor ahead of us this week, and we look forward to the tasks. Two families will have homes, and our perspectives on life will be shifted. Even today the time we spent reuniting with the families we worked alongside last year, our hearts were moved.

Tonight we returned to the Church of our friends Edgar and Ramiro. We saw the beauty of true belief and lives lived with conviction.

Before the service we had dinner with the Greene Family and the girls of Mimi's House. It was amazing to sit with the young ladies and listen to their discussions in English. It was so evident that their lives are made better by the willingness of good people to recognize a need, and then take the effort to meet it.

It is amazing to see how much positive change has taken place in this place. Tomorrow will be a day spent with a shared breakfast, worship in a local congregation, and a day of sight-seeing in Antigua. Our real week begins on Monday when we will travel across the mountains to Cerro Alto. Catalyst is the only team working to provide help to these strong and yet desperate people.
Today's events inspired our hearts and readied us physically. We received the perfect inoculation of the week to come. A week that will prove to run the full spectrum on what we can experience.

I am grateful to be here. I am humbled to walk beside these men and women.

One Step. One shovel. One brick. One life.

Guatemala 2011. Team BA has returned.

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