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Archive for April, 2012

Photos from Honduras

13 Apr , 2012

Easter Sunday

Easter Sunday

Easter in Santa Rosa

Easter in Santa Rosa

Gloria cleans up the site for construction

Jose and Elin with adobe bricks

Jose and Elin with adobe bricks

Judy

Judy

Kevin

Kevin

Norma making an adobe brick

Norma making an adobe brick

Pam and Robert mix med and straw for bricks

Pam and Robert mix med and straw for bricks

Rick, Syretta, and Norma

Rick, Syretta, and Norma

Syretta, Rick, and Kevin off to gather pine needles

Syretta, Rick, and Kevin off to gather pine needles

12 APRIL 2012 | TIME IS NOT MONEY

13 Apr , 2012

So this week we are helping to build homes in what will eventually be a 31 house development in Barrio El Rosario outside Santa Rosa de Copan, Honduras.  To lower the cost in order to serve poorer families, the Habitat affiliate has decided to build the homes from adobe bricks rather than cinderblocks.  We have been helping to make bricks, including harvesting pine straw (an ingredient in the adobe) from a nearby pine forest, and a few of our team have helped to lay some bricks on the first of the homes.

If you placed a high monetary value on time, adobe would not be your choice.  It is extremely labor intensive, but when you have an abundance of labor and indigenous material, it makes sense.

Habitat Wake along with the other Habitat affiliates in the Triangle, helped Habitat Honduras purchase this site and make it possible for families that do not own land to have a decent place to live.  I am proud to be a part of our build team this week and to be presented with a lesson that, unlike in our culture, time is not always money.

11 April 2012 | TREINTE-UNO

13 Apr , 2012

Today’s blogger is Pam Forsythe from Habitat Wake’s Development Department and our team leader for this trip to serve in Honduras.

After a rainy day yesterday, today was delightfully sunny – albeit a bit hot while working!  I spent the morning making adobe bricks with Jose and was proud that by noon I had made twelve and just about kept up with Jose! While making bricks, Jose and I shared English and Spanish words and phrases; we brushed up on the days of the week and shared details about our lives and families.  Jose has a wife and two children and has two jobs:  making adobe bricks by day and serving as a policeman by night.

After lunch I started back to the worksite when Elin pulled out a deck of cards to share with the neighborhood children.  Would they even know what these were?  Junior, Jonathan, Darwin, and Duncan(?) knew exactly what they were and immediately started a game in a circle on the ground.  They invited Kevin and me to join them.  It took us a while to figure out the rules to “Triente Uno”, similar to “21”.  After about 20 minutes we were experts and had a blast.  It was difficult to keep up but was good practice for counting and adding in Spanish.  Playing cards with these boys made my day!

More from Honduras

12 Apr , 2012

Today’s blogger is Judy Szustakowski, a long-time Habitat Wake volunteer house leader.  This is her first build with Habitat outside the U.S.

Lessons learned today: (1) Be on time for the morning meeting; (2) Don’t work with a bunch of wimps; (3) Making bricks is hard work.

A knock on my door at 7:00 am startled me, even though I was already awake and reading.  Little did I know that we were meeting each morning at 7:00.  Without my computer and calendar, I never know where I am supposed to be.  Isn’t that sad?

My co-volunteers in Honduras are a bunch of wimps.  Yes, it rained.  I welcomed the rain and the cooler temperatures it brought.  But, all of my wimpy co-workers chose to spend the time beneath the canopy, safe and dry, while I continued the laborious efforts of mixing mud and pine needles for future adobe brick making.

After the rain subsided, I was trained in the fine art of adobe brick making.  The work is simple, yet hard on your back as the work is done on the ground:  washing the wooden form, laying a straw foundation, filling the form with mud, and removing the form, hopefully leaving the brick in a solid square that will dry evenly and be useable for a home.  After enough of this, I once again realized why I chose to get a college education and a desk job.

9 April 2012 | First day of real WORK

10 Apr , 2012

Our blogger today is Norma Jones, Habitat Wake homeowner in Cary and participant in Habitat Wake’s Global Village trip to Santa Rosa de Copan, Honduras.

Hola  Everyone,

I am Norma,  proud habitat homeowner from Cary. I worked on my home as well as several others in the past but Lord knows now I know what real work is. Brick making is no joke it will and has put a new appreciation  in my eyes for mass producing materials. I was thinking thank God I didn’t have to do this kind o f work on my home or maybe I would not have been able to build it.

I did meet and enjoyed spending  time with the neighbor children that came by our work site.  They helped me learn much more Spanish and I enjoyed helping them with English. This was the best kind of work.

I had forgotten what hard work it is building a home . But I did meet David (aka Dady).  It was love at first sight, he smiled at me and that is all it took to melt my heart. David is 3 years old his father is one of the brick makers and he is so cute and sweet. So I will be going back tomorrow to grow in my relationship with David and continue making some adobe bricks.

8 APRIL 2012 | EASTER SUNDAY IN HONDURAS

9 Apr , 2012

At 4 a.m., the sound of firecrackers broke the silence of the city.  By 5:30, our group had assembled several blocks from the main city square and could see the approaching parade and hear the music.  This celebration, called Carrerita de San Juan, is the traditional Easter morning celebration in Santa Rosa de Copan, Honduras.

The parade continued toward the cathedral.  There were figures of Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and Saints Peter and John held high on platforms by the marchers moving the figtures to the music.  Right at 6 a.m., the figures danced into the church for the beginning of Easter Sunday Mass.

As it should be, the resurrection of Jesus, was a true celebration in Santa Rosa.  You could feel the sense of victory in the celebration.  I pray that our work this week in Honduras can be a small part of a life-changing event for a family and a victory over the extreme poverty that so many face here.

On Monday, we are off to start making adobe bricks.  2,500 bricks are needed per house and our Honduran team leader told us today that he thought we could make 1,500 bricks this week.  Let’s see how we do….

5 April 2012 | HONDURAS!

9 Apr , 2012

On Saturday, nine Wake Countians will be traveling to Santa Rosa de Copan, Honduras as part of Habitat Wake’s first ever Global Village trip to Honduras.  I’m excited to be one of the nine and traveling back to the area I visited and served in last year.

Four Habitat Wake staff members will be on the team.  Pam Forsythe from our development department is leading the team and will be making her third trip to Honduras.  Syretta Hill, our community development manager who is so instrumental in our neighborhood revitalization work in Long Acres will be making her first trip and newly hired Director of Faith & Neighborhood Relations, Rick Beech, will be joining us.  Rick has traveled to Central America extensively through his work with Habitat International and with various churches over the years.

We’ll also have a Habitat homeowner with us on the team.  Norma Jones is the owner of a Habitat home in Cary and I’m super-excited to have her as part of the team.  Expect to hear from Norma on this blog during our time in Honduras.

Rounding out the team is Rev. Gloria Johnson, long-time partner of ours from White Memorial Presbyterian Church, Elin Zaccaro, Women Build volunteer, Judy Szustakowski, volunteer house leader, and Robert Glickman, a new volunteer to Habitat Wake.

We will be helping to start the construction of homes in the village of El Rosario on land that funds from Habitat Wake, Durham, Orange, and Chatham have helped to purchase.  This land will eventually be home to 31 families upon completion.  I am so pleased that Habitat Wake will be able to fund the construction of 25 homes in Honduras this year.

Please pray for our safe travel and that the relationships built in Honduras be God-directed and fruitful as we move forward with our partnership with Habitat Honduras.  I am excited that we’ll have a visit next Friday with Alberto Benitez, a friend of mine and national director of Habitat Honduras.

2 APRIL 2012 | I AM HABITAT

2 Apr , 2012

Heather and her family moved into a Habitat house in Wake County 16 years ago.  Heather was 10 then.  Today, Heather serves on staff at Durham Habitat as their volunteer services manager, coordinating the thousands of volunteers for their program.

Last month, Heather spoke to nearly 400 attendees at our annual Blueprint Breakfast event at the North Raleigh Hilton and proudly proclaimed, “I AM HABITAT!”  Heather spoke of how cramped her family was in their apartment and how hard her parents worked to provide for her and her siblings.  She talked of how embarrassing it was to a youngster to not have a decent place to live and of how she never had sleep-overs (very important to a 10 year old!) because there wasn’t enough room.

Habitat changed all of that for Heather and now she is returning the favor in her very enthusiastic and articulate way in her position at Durham Habitat.  It makes me proud that our organization could partner with Heather’s family in 1996 and change the trajectory of Heather’s life and that of her siblings—either all finished with college or well on their way.  Make a gift now, financial and/or volunteer, and change a kid’s life forever!

Heather and her family pose by their future home in 1996


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