Saturday, October 8, 2011

Oaxaca, Mexico - Day 4, Pisos in Manantial

Day 4 – Monday. The work begins!

Monday, November 10 – 6:40 p.m.

Can't believe I forgot to mention the fried grasshoppers yesterday at the restaurant...spicy,
crunchy, a tiny bit soft in the middle, and actually quite good. Also can't believe I ate those! But, really, they were quite tasty. Really!

Today, we got up with the roosters – it was still a bit dark – to get ready to pour pisos (cement floors) at Manantial.

Breakfast was scrambled eggs, country fries with chilis (everything is with chilis), toast and/or tortillas, cereal – lots of good food.

Before heading out to the village, we had to go unload a truck of materials for the Luis Palau festival (tracts, handouts, Book of Hope materials) that's coming up this weekend, so we were late arriving at Manantial – just in time for a sandwich, and then we started hauling gravel and shoveling sand for the cement. Here, we are talking about hauling by hand, in five-gallon buckets, assembly-line style. It is hard work, in the sun, dusty.
Photo by Chris. All rights reserved.
It's hard to stay properly hydrated at this altitude, too, even though I'm drinking lots of water. We are on a hillside, up above Oaxaca City somewhere. We are especially grateful that Jose Manuel has obtained a gas-powered cement mixer. It means we will not have to mix all the cement by hand, which will make the job go much faster (also easier, I would imagine).

RJ took charge of the actual pouring and spreading, since he is a contractor and knows what to do. Because we got started so late, we only got one piso done today, but the other two homes have been prepped and are ready for pouring. That should make tomorrow's work go faster.
Photo by Chris. All rights reserved.
Peggy says that the houses they work on in Nicaragua are much poorer, but that's kind of hard to wrap my head around. She says they are lean-to's with corrugated metal walls. There are lots of those here, too, but the homes whose floors we are pouring are cinder block. Window openings but no windows. Door openings but no doors. Walls and a corrugated metal roof, a couple of rooms for multiple generations, dirt floor, “kitchen” outside, etc. No electricity, no running water. Deeply rutted, dirt lane. Looks as though it must wash out consistently during the rainy season. Stateside, you'd be thinking this was the most abject poverty, that's for sure. As I say, hard to imagine that it's more spartan in Nicaragua.
The main drag.
Photo by Chris. All rights reserved.
Photo by Chris. All rights reserved.
The families are very excited and grateful to be getting rid of their dirt floors! Pastor Marcelino, from the church where we went on Sunday, has established an outreach church to the indigenous inhabitants of Manantial. The church building consists of a cement pad with no walls and a corrugated roof. Marcelino says there is a strong spirit of witchcraft in the area that brings division and strife. Not all the neighbors get along, and some even refused a piso. We hope that the help we are providing to a handful of families will not cause them to be ostracized.

Back at YWAM, there was meatball/vegetable broth with rice for dinner. As always, very good.

Never has a shower felt so good!

Answer to prayer: The rest of the team arrived today – Suzie S. (Suzie is RJ's wife. She
is a flight nurse.) and the docs (Dr. N. and Dr. B., both from Redding, CA) – with bins and bins of medications. Potential trouble bringing those in. At customs, they opened all the bins, but it was as though the meds were absolutely invisible – just as we had asked Papa. So, thank you, Papa.

I am missing my husband and family today. Very much. Wendy says that loneliness hangs over this area in a very heavy way. Yep.

Note: Regarding time/punctuality here – forget about it. I'm assuming that school and work start on time, but it seems as though everything is always behind schedule (Schedules appear to be more like suggestions)...way behind schedule. I'm not talking about a few minutes. Relationship is what it's all about, not getting there “on time.” The key to dealing with this, for a Type 1 such as myself, is to remember to be flexible. It's very difficult, but I think I'm coping relatively well. I wonder if the others agree...

We had a special speaker tonight, Bob Sundberg. It was a very good talk about the more than 150 separate indigenous peoples in the area, do's and don'ts, and so on. It would have been wonderful to have this information right away, before going out there, but I appreciate these hints as to how not to behave! We don't want to be arrogant gringos. This is their land, and we are their guests.

Observation: It's hard to come on a trip like this as a “hanger on” with someone else's team. All the planning was done in Redding for our sub-set, so there isn't a job that “belongs” to me – not that I'm having any trouble staying busy, pitching in here and there, that's for sure! Heather from Colorado is in the same situation, only she didn't even know a single person at all. Very brave of her. She is a unique young woman.

I heard today that only those who are fluent in Spanish will be allowed to do prayer ministry at the Palau ( festival. That makes total sense, on one hand, but who knows? Perhaps I'll be able to team up with someone like I did with Susie at the church on Sunday. That was awesome – the Holy Spirit is not restricted by language barriers. And we will see what He has in mind, eh?

We have to get up even earlier tomorrow, as we have to get out to the work site and pour at least three pisos – turns out we have four more to do, as five were promised (rather than three). And if you say you are going to do something, you have to get it done in order to not destroy the relationship-building that's happening.

Gifts are being prepared for tomorrow's families. Clothing, socks, toys, coloring books, hair
gizmos, etc.

By the way, we drove through a retail-type area today on our way to the job site. There was a Sam's Club and McDonald's and Burger King and a mall and theater multi-plex. Weird disconnect there. Quite a stark contrast to the job site! I'm thinking we ought to be doing more ministry in the inner cities back home. Just a thought.

Next up: What a team!

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