Writing this blog I can tell you that there is nothing that touches me more than building a house for someone in need. It is the single most moving thing – to be a part of a life changing event for another person and to watch as they take part in the construction of their home. I am not sure that words can accurately convey the feelings that surround a project like this. It is something I suggest everyone take part in at least one time in their lives.
We started building the house for Elizabeth after waiting a few days because of the rain. It is why we came to Pucallpa – To build. Finally we were getting the chance. Elizabeth was chosen by Luz Divina church to be the recipient of a new house. A “casita” really as it was going to measure only 3 x 4 meters. Quite small – it is all the space she had to build on.
I don’t know how old she is. It is difficult to tell ages here – life is difficult and it ages people dramatically. She has 4 boys, ranging in age from 20 down to 12. Two of the boys live with her, one is grown and on his own and the other…committed suicide fairly recently at the age of 14. Cannot even imagine the pain. And yet the world moves on and she does too, one day at a time.
Please refer to the prior blog at It Finally Hit… to see additional pictures and read about the conditions of Elizabeth’s current home. A synopsis -it leaks from the roof and floods when it rains. The wood is irreplaceable – rotted from water damage and eaten through in many parts by insects.
Opening the front door you could see the beds were put up on bricks to get them out of the water. The main entryway floor was dirt as was the rest of the floor in the house. It had eroded from all the water that over time has run over it. Off to the right and left the dirt had totally washed away and sloped down a foot or two. Water was still standing in one of the small rooms in the back part of the house, and boards had been laid down over the mud that was near the back door so that you could cross over it and make your way to the outdoor “bathroom,” which was sitting on a bed of wet, moist earth. There was a great deal of water still standing in the backyard right outside the back door. The foul smell from standing water was overpowering.
A place for the new home was chosen in the backyard and the area cleared of debris, old posts and plant growth. We would build it about 2-3 feet up off the ground to keep her out of the water. In the entire time we built – off and on over 5 days – the mud never dried out and the standing water never drained.
Once the area was cleared we staked out the floor area for the house usually no real construction tools – just things that work for them in this part of the world. Posts, string and clear hose filled with water to use as a level.
Supplies were picked up the following day. There are no delivery trucks – just the “furgonettas” – large wagon type tri-peds used to carry supplies. Wood is carefully stacked so that it doesn’t fall off when the furgonetta makes a turn! And there are no ropes used to tie things down! Craziness. But it works for them.
Tomorrow we start the actual framing – timing the construction in between heavy downpours of rain.
In His Mighty Grip – running and taking cover from the rain,