Friday, May 21, 2010

Building the Dream

I know most of you are wondering if we really are going to build a dream home here in Honduras.  After all, I have been talking about it ever since we got here, then posted nothing about our progress.  Well, here is what you have been waiting for.

This is the property before the bulldozer came

We broke ground last week, but before we could get the bulldozer in Macho Man and his helper, Marvin, and whatever family he could round up, had to move most of those rocks  have been bragging about.  Now, these rocks are another thing Honduras has with Georgia.....our rocks are not some soft old rock you can split easily.  Our rocks are pure granite.  These rocks have to be dug up, broken up, and moved by hand.

  Macho Man and Marvin working on the rocks

You will see piles and piles of these rocks, and when you see a new surface, that rock has been broken up with a pick axe and a sledge hammer.  Some of these will be used in the foundation.  The ones with the flattest surface will be the parking area and walkways.  I hope there will be enough to build the fence, too.   Some of the boulders will be left in place, because we can't move them.

Last Thursday the bulldozer came.  They worked Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.  The driver was so good at what he does that we will have to back fill only a less when we do the foundations.  I commented on Face Book the other day that Honduras and Georgia have red clay, chiggers and ticks in common.  Here is the proof of the red clay.

Once the excavation was complete, Macho Man and his helpers starting leveling off and marking where the foundation will go.  They did the leveling with a long, clear plastic tubing and water.  First they put stakes in all the corners and along the sides, and then, somehow they filled the tube with water and were able to mark the levels of the foundation.  They measured horizontally, vertically and cross-ways.  MM said they were off less than 1/4th inch.

                                                       Macho Man and Chico inspecting the work yesterday       

Today we have five workers out at the site digging the foundations with shovels.  MM as been tying rebar, getting it ready to put in the columns that go every 10' around the house.  They are 6" square of solid concrete with a 1/2"  rebar circular reinforcement the entire length of the column.  These are not decorative; they become part of the walls.  The columns help make the house hurricane and earthquake proof.  

Let me say a word here about Marvin.  Macho Man found Marvin when he was working on my SIL's house and offeredd him a job.  Marvin is 17 years old, and he works literally from sun to sun, and sometimes later.  He is on the job by at least 6:30 a.m. and he has to be told to go home at night.  He also has to be told to take a lunch break.  While they have been busting rocks, Marvin has started a fire under a rock and then come back later at night to pour cold water on the rock so it will split.    He is a blessing.

I will be doing more on this as we progress.  In fact, I am going out tomorrow to take pictures from today's work.                                   


  1. Congrats! What an exciting new adventure!

  2. How exciting! I look forward to watching your progress. I know you have been waiting a long time for this.

  3. It's so great to get started, isn't it? It's amazing to watch Honduran construction -- not that I'm an expert on any kind of construction, but it's amazing to see what they can do virtually completely by hand, with no machines or fancy equipment. We didn't even use a bulldozer, all the leveling and digging was done by hand.

    Hang onto those rocks. I'm sure you will find lots of uses for them.

  4. LG, you are so very right! It is exciting, wonderful, mind boggling, and almost any other good description you can think of. The only thing that will be greater than this will be the day we can say, "it's finished, and it is ours."

    Cindy and Live Simply, thanks for your support. Every little bit helps.

  5. Oh, I'm just thrilled for you Patty (and MM!). I've built two small homes from 'scratch' here in Canada and it is an unbeleivable experience to finally live in a home that has your own handprints, sweat and energy built into every square inch of it... And yes, Honduran ingenuity is equal to any force of nature! Longing for La Ceiba, Stephanie