Monday, January 13, 2014

Building Houses in Mexico (Part 2)

Today my mom blackmailed me. She told me I either had to help clean the kitchen or write her a blog post.  It was almost like she was asking me to steal her blog again. (shh, don't tell her I actually wanted to write another blog post!) So anyway here I am typing away contentedly while my mom and dad slave over the dirty dishes :-)

The first time I stole the blog I told you about the out-of-this-world awesome Christmas dinner we had our first night in Mexico and how I got there. Now the story of my craziest Christmas ever continues with us building houses!

No, you didn't misread that. Cami Goold, the teenage girl who loves nail polish and cupcakes and hates nothing more than yard work was actually building a house. And I LOVED it! For three days I worked next to my Aunt Debra, Uncle Buddy, Hannah, Ethan, Isaac, and 20 other families cementing brick walls and tarring roofs so we could give the best Christmas present ever to 2 families. It was definitely hard work but I cherished every second I spent working beside awesome people and learning awesome skills to build awesome houses.

Here's a glimpse of the work we did:

{First we built the walls from the ground up. There were a lot of cinder blocks and even more cement involved.}

{Hannah, Isaac, and me with a big pile of cement}
{Me and Hannah cementing some more.}
{After the blocks were stacked and glued we poured cement to fill the walls.  Those buckets were HEAVY!}
{We took random breaks from building walls to move piles of dirt.}
{Hannah and I had a good laugh about this guy photobombing our picture}
{Once the boards were in place we went on the roof to help nail them down.}

{After the walls were all built up, supports for the roof were put in and we helped pass up boards.} 

{Working on the roof was new, a bit unnerving, and totally 100% awesome.}

{After the boards were in place we used thick, black tar to glue down shingles. I learned later that the only way to remove tar from your hands is to wash them with gasoline. yay.}

{This is what 20 families building houses in the desert looks like. Awesome.}

{After just 3 days working on them, this is what we left the houses looking like. Another group will come in a few weeks to finish the inside and present them to the families.}

After we finished working on the houses we started, we went to the houses that were started last year by another group to finish them up. 

{Me, Ethan, and Isaac moving a huge pice of dried cement out of the yard.}
Once the 2 houses were fully furnished and shiny clean we got to do my favorite part of the entire trip: present the houses! Since the families receiving the houses don't own cars Buddy and Debra went to pick one of them up from their previous house shack.

{This is the tiny trailer a family of 6 had been borrowing from a friend to live in.}

{This is the house they live in now, thanks to Families Helping Families.}

{the living room.}

This is the family Buddy and Debra drove to their new home. When they were presented the house they were so elated they were literally speechless. Afterwards

{the bathroom}
{The kitchen}
{one of the bedrooms}
{This family had 7 kids! We never saw their previous living situation but all I know is how happy they looked when they got to walk into their new house.}

{This is the family Buddy and Debra picked up and brought to the new houses. When they were presented the house they were so elated they were literally speechless. Later that night we were talking with one of the organizers of the FHF project and he told us what happened after the family walked through their new home. The dad walked up to him with tears in his eyes and just gave him a big hug. This man works as a dish washer at a restaurant for 12 hours a day. He leaves work twice a day to BIKE his son to and from school. For this man and his family we gave up just a few short days of our winter break and in return they were able to finally have a steady roof over their heads, a blessing I take for granted every single day.}

{Me, Hannah, Ethan, Isaac, Uncle Buddy, and Aunt Debra with the end result of our 3 days of building.}

  Building houses in Mexico was hard work but it really didn't feel like work at all. When people ask me how Mexico was I usually can only come up with an unimpressive "it was so awesome!" because I can never find words that adequately describe how great it really was. But when it all comes down to it awesome really does describe just about exactly how I felt about the whole thing. So totally awesome. Another awesome thing is my Aunt and Uncle. I cannot speak highly enough of  Buddy, Debra, Hannah, Ethan, and Isaac and I am so grateful they let me tag along with their family. 

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