House 1 is Complete!

I Am Exhausted!

As I sit here and type this I am sipping on a coke zero after I having had a long cold shower and taken some panadol for this tired dull headache I have! I can’t remember the last time I have been this tired or my body so achy, but In saying that I can’t remember the last time I have felt so fulfilled!

The last 3 days have been an emotional roller coaster and I am beyond grateful to God for this adventure He has us on.

Day 1 started with breakfast at the base before loading up the ute and vans and heading out to the Colonia, where we would see the harsh reality of life here. As we left Mazatlan and headed into the “suburbs” we were met with the reason why we were here. The streets went from concrete to dirt, the buildings went from nice to ruins and the nicely clothed people soon become people without shoes and tattered clothing.

The houses became shacks and lean to’s and rubbish was littered everywhere. In between the sadness were little pockets of happiness where people had planted gardens and children ran around with big grins on their faces, not knowing any other way of life.

We pulled up to where we were building and I couldn’t hold back the tears as we met the family we were building for. Diego is 75, his wife Gabby is 63 and they share their shack with their 18-year-old grandson Jesus and his 14-year-old wife (and no, that is not a typo, yes she is married at 14!) Diego and Gabby have lived on this piece of land for 23 years, through the heat, through the tropical storms and everything in between! They have a small lean-to for shelter but when the storms hit they sleep under a tarp.

imageThe concrete pad had already been laid and so once everything was unpacked we were into it…….
Within minutes, people were painting boards, metal framing was being screwed together, and everyone, yep all 22 of us, were busy doing something! As the sun beat down there were few places for shade and so we sweated in the 38-degree heat. All dignity and caring what we looked like went out the window, as we all worked hard for this family who needed us.

We welcomed the snack breaks and our lunch of tortillas were finished within minutes. The litres (and litres) of water in the big coolers were guzzled like there was no tomorrow, as we sweated under the hot sun.

imageThe boards were painted a happy shade of green, and because the weather was so hot, they were just about dry as soon as we painted them, so they were pretty much put straight on to the house!

By 4pm, we were all exhausted so called it quits for the day and packed our gear away into the trailer for the night. We went back to the base for dinner and I think we were all in bed asleep by 8.30pm!

Day 2 was a little disappointing as we had a tropical storm the night before so the site was pretty muddy so not suitable for 22 people. It was decided that 9 of us would go to the site and the rest would stay back at the house for the day.

Today we finished screwing the outside on and put up all the Sheetrock (gib board) as well as mudding it (stopping it!) and putting the roof on. Again it was an exhausting day but so rewarding.

imageDay 3 and we were all back on site again. It was a crazy day as it was our last day and so we wanted to get everything finished for Diego and Gabby.
All hands were on deck as we fitted windows and door frames, finished gib stopping and painted the inside, got the electricity working and did all the finishing touches, to make this house into a home.

As part of our fundraising we had raised enough money for a furniture package, so the truck arrived with beds, fridge, stove, shelving, table and chairs, sheets, towels, plates and shelves full of food! It was exciting to set up home for them.

Finally at around 5 we had finished and so we all gathered around and prayed for the family and handed them the keys. It was emotional to say the least, and again the tears flowed as we watched them walk into their house for the first time. Even though we couldn’t understand them, and they us, no words were needed for us to see what this meant to them. To finally have a bed to sleep in and a place to call their own after 23 years of living in a shack was more than I could comprehend and again the tears rolled down my cheeks with what God has allowed us to be a part of.

I am exhausted, my body is sore and my head hurts from the heat, but my heart is overflowing with thankfulness for this incredible opportunity.