Thursday, July 26, 2012

Hondurans Are NOT Lazy

I still hear North Americans complain about Hondurans; about how lazy and  how unmotivated they are; and even how larcenous they are.  That has not been our experience, and those of you who read The View know this, because I have written many times how hard our helpers work

In the last ten days Joche has dug  a compost hole, laid  out a garden on each side of the portico; made  a walkway from the portico steps to the steps down to the lower level of the yard; made another walkway down to the level of the compost hole; leveled out the area around the compost hole so I don't break my neck;  and plastered the ceiling  and the walls in one of the bedrooms and the bathroom down stairs.  All this without the advantage of sophisticated machinery.

The walkways and the garden plots were dug out with a digging bar ( a big, long crowbar) and a shovel.  The ground here is very rocky because this is a mountain.  The really big rocks have to be broken up with a sledge hammer.

He mixes the cement for the plaster himself.  He has to sift the sand before the cement gets mixed to get out anything that doesn't belong, as well as remove  the small rocks that come with the sand.  The cement and the aggregate are mixed on the ground by hand and then carried to the work.  But before Joche can plaster, he must also knock small holes in the concrete blocks so the plaster  will stick to the surface.  I can assure you the wall will be perfectly smooth when I star the paint.  He finishing the ceilings with a little rougher look, just to add some texture.

Joche laying out and digging the walkway,  Note the rocks he is digging out as he goes,  The edges of the walkway are almost perfectly even and the depth is exact.

The finished walkway.  The stones have been beaten down until it is level, as Joche is well aware my balance is not what it should be.  To the left of the walkway you can see one of the garden plots that Joche leveled out and lined with rocks.  He took some of the sod from here and planted it around the bananas.  We didn't tell him to do that, but we appreciate it.

The path and handrail down to the compost hole.  The clay area around the hole is where Joche leveled the ground.  I plan to plant something there in the future,

The aggregate is thrown through this screen.  Only the fine sand can go through the screen attached to the frame.  The fine sand is mixed with the cement to make the plaster.

The sand and cement are mixed here before Joche takes it inside to use.  You can see that quite a bit of cement has been mixed in this place.

After he brings the cement in, he mixes in just the right amount of water to make a wet mixture.  That is then thrown up against the wall and smoothed out. The mix has to be just the right consistency, thrown on the wall at just the right angle, and with just the right velocity, or it won't stick.

The finished product.  This will be ready to paint in a couple of days, but we won't paint until after the floor is in.  That's next.

The bottom step made from river rocks and cement.  This helps me get up the steps with thinking I am going to lose my balance.

Joche makes L225 (about $12 USD) per day and a small bonus at the end of the week.   This is less than we used to pay, but he understands and he still comes to work when we have something for him to do, and he still does more than we ask.

This week Joche's 17 year old brother, Cristino,  has been working with Macho Man. Cristino has lined the entire perimeter of the property with rocks about 1-1/2 feet high.  The rocks were not just thrown in place, they were selected, one-by-one for the best fit.  These are heavy, granite rocks, and he has moved them by himself, with a wheelbarrow.   It helps when laying them  that the rocks are usually flat on at least one  We have about an acre of land, so this was not easy.  Yesterday Cristino dug out the holes for the foundation for the slab to hold the cistern, and today he is helping put the foundation.  Another hard job that employs moving rocks.  These young men probably dream about rocks, 'cause that is one thing we have plenty of.  ('scuse me Mr. Bragg, I know better, but the proper way to say it sounds so stuffy.)

This is the boundary marker Cristino put all the way around the property.  It comes up to the level of the first round of barbed wire.  This keeps the neighbors' chickens out of the yard; at least most of the time it does. This little wall is very stable due to the way the rocks are fitted together.

Above, Cristino is picking the rocks to form the base of the foundation for the cistern.  The pile of rocks above was about 4' high before he started moving rocks around the property.  Now it is one layer thick.

The concrete blocks are to level out the slope of the hill.  This will be filled with cement and re-leveled.  The cistern will hold 750 gallons of water,  The cistern weighs about 200 pounds, and when it is filled it will weigh approximately 6,500 pounds.  In the event city water is cut off and there is no rain, that will last us 2-1/2 to 3 weeks if we are very careful.  Since we get 144 inches rain a year, the cistern is not likely to run dry, and we will be using city water for back up.  We will only use the water from the cistern for showers, etc., because we use bottled water for consumption.

Cristino is making L 150 (about  $8 USD)  per day.  

Our guys are NOT Lazy.  They are very motivated.  And they have never taken anything from this property that was not theirs to take.

We are blessed.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Generosity of Southern Women

I recently posted a wish list for supplies so that the expat community  here in Trujillo could establish an Emergency Response Team.  I was overwhelmed by the response I got from the Order of Confederate Rose, Florida Society.  

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My ladies sent almost one hundred pounds of supplies which are almost non-existent in our area of Trujillo.  Things which most of you take for granted.  Things like pints of alcohol; triple antibiotic ointment; witch hazel; sterile gauze; tape, and band-aids.  Then there were the things unheard of here, like burn dressings, Adaptic (non-stick) bandages; blood pressure cuffs, and the likes.  

There were the practical things, like duct tape and magic markers; tongue blades, Popsicle sticks, hand sanitizers, tourniquets, and cotton balls; skin prep and betadine; and oh, so many other wonderful things.  The only things not there were the things I didn't think to ask for.

We were able to outfit 3 boxes of supplies with another box for backup/replacement.  This will enable us to stock three strategically placed depots, so that even if the major roads are impassable, supplies will be available.  We can cover about a 20 mile stretch of road, an area of 30+ thousand people.  

The Roses have won a spot in all our hearts, but especially in mine.  They have given voice to what I have known all my life.  There is no heart more loving and giving than that of a Southern woman.

We are Blessed