guatemala: day 3

March 3: Day 3

Today we began working on the houses in San Pablo. The work was a lot harder than I was expecting. We had to dig up the ground so that it was low enough to pour cement. It took us all day but we finished both rooms. We got to meet the family that would be living in the house and it was beyond amazing. The mother, Polina, came to us and thanked us, saying she was so sorry she had nothing to give us but that she was asking God to bless us and our families. Polina said she never cries because of her circumstances, but because she was just so, so happy. Her little daughter, Camilla, hugged us and began crying. All of us were in tears. I think it’s something you can’t really explain or tell someone. The feeling at that moment is impossible to describe.

The house is so small and eight people will be living in it. I just kept thinking to myself – shame on you for complaining about sharing a room with your sister growing up, in a room that was bigger than a room that eight people will be sharing. I am so blessed.

One of the workers, Cesar, employed by ODIM, worked so hard and with Jacky’s translations and our attempts at Spanish, we learned a lot about him. He is 20 and quit going to school at age 16, when he began work because there wasn’t enough money to allow him to stay in school. He said he loves his life and it’s never been better. He loves romantic music “para las chicas” (for the girls) and has a girlfriend, Maria. He asked if we had boyfriends or husbands and when we said no, he said “por que?” Well Cesar, isn’t that the million dollar question? So, Team Hannah/Alyssa/Hayley turned into Team Chicas Solteras (Team Single Ladies).

Cesar said he loves his life in Guatemala and that he hears the United States is full of hate while Guatemala is full of love and a sense of community. The kids have so much pride for their home. They love their friends and family and are so appreciative of what they have, even though it’s so little. Cesar told us minimum wage is 70 quetzales a day (about $10). And I complain about $7.80/hr doing work no where near half as hard.

The last hour of work I sat down with Camilla and Polina and made bracelets with them. They were so excited about the thread I brought from the U.S. Polina made each of us girls a beautiful bracelet. It was a wonderful day.

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