Monday, April 8, 2013

Working Hands

Our goal in going to Guatemala was to help our friends build their house. If the rest of this post sounds like we were terribly busy, well, we were - but that was good. Nothing would have been worse for my husband then to take off work and travel that far to find himself sitting around because the cement didn't come, or the weather didn't cooperate, or any number of other reasons that can derail plans. Ed put in a lot of work hours, getting up early and staying up late - and he loved it.

The house site was two or so miles out of town in a ranching area. We called it The Hill as it was the highest spot for some distance. The view from the top was spectacular in all directions.  Coming from cold, barren Pennsylvania, the green, lush tropics was breathtakingly beautiful. The house is being built into the side of The Hill. The basement was already built when we arrived. Ed helped to get ready to pour the floor of the house, which was the basement ceiling.

When we arrived, they were having a hot streak that had even the locals commenting on the heat. Ed and I thought we'd croak when the temperature rose above 100 degrees. Thankfully, a few days later the weather turned cool and cloudy.

On the day they planned to pour concrete it rained. The cool, damp weather conditions were much better than the extreme heat for concrete pouring. Lots of friends came to help pour concrete. I'll show my ignorance and admit that when I thought of them pouring concrete, I visualized how we do it in the US with a huge truck pulling up and stretching out a gigantic slide to pour the concrete where ever you want it.

But here there is a lot more hand work involved. Shoveling sand and stones into buckets, dumping into a small cement mixer, and hauling concrete in wheelbarrows.



It is hard work, and adding in some rain made it miserable work. By dark, the rain was falling in earnest. There was no hope of troweling it smooth in a downpour. Benj and Ed returned home for some sleep. But the rain soon quit and by midnight they were out at the house site again and worked until breakfast. Despite all the problems, the floor looked rather good by the time they finished.

Ed's project the rest of the week was building a block house wall. His recent experience with our own house project paid off, though they do build a little differently in Guatemala to help withstand earthquakes.

 The work crew

True tale of heights!
Ed especially enjoyed working with these guys. They tried to teach him Spanish (and he picked up quite a bit in one week) and were just a lot of fun.

And what was I doing? Laundry, cooking, sewing - just normal homemaking tasks. Though with the size of this household, there was just more of it than I am used to! There seemed to be an endless supply of dishes to wash or clothes to hang up on the line.

I enjoyed helping to sew a couple dresses for one of Benj's sisters and made a denim blanket out of a stack of old jeans.


Shopping was a whole set of adventures and a story in itself! I loved the piles of fresh produce.


But the best part was the opportunity to catch up on a lot of conversation with Holly. We had years of back log to get out! Work is always more fun when combined with great conversation!


  1. This looks like such a good good time. Kendra Lily came to Ne one time to visit my niece and stayed at my I know who Benj's family is at least. It's a small world!

  2. What a fantastic trip! You will surely be blessed for you work and selfless giving to others. Thank you for taking us along through pictures.

  3. This is just wonderful. Makes me want to visit Guatemala all the more! I hope you have more to post. Blessings!

    1. I hope you get a chance to visit sometime!

  4. Oh and I love the picture of the work crew! This reminds me of some of our family photos. All of my dad's side of the family are short little Guatemalans. And my husband is 6 foot 2. So, he's quite a bit taller than everyone else in the picture. The camera either has to be set a good distance away or his head gets cut off in the picture. Or...everyone needs a step stool. So I look at this picture with a smile and chuckle. :)

  5. Gina, thank you so much for sharing your recent ministry trip with your readers..... After mission trips such as these, we return so very thankful for our daily portion and our prayers increase for our brethren in other lands. I know the Lord will return to you and your husband a profit of wisdom and spiritual maturity as a result of your gift to Guatemala...

  6. I loved seeing everyone working together! Did you get some sewing done? Can you send her things in the mail?
    Blessings, Roxy

  7. Wow look at all that frest produce. Yum! I'm sure it smelled wonderful too especially with all the spices and fruit. I'm so glad you got a chance to go and help. It does a heart good to be able to serve God that way. I'm sure you were tired, but so happy too.

  8. We have and use a cement mixer much like that one still.
    It is very old, new motor, and has two metal wheels, hubby has
    owned it most of his life. So maybe we are a bit backward here
    and it was last used by us for some sidewalk replacement,
    and friends also used it for garage floor. It is a lot of work!
    Glad you got to make a jean quilt for them as well as helping
    with all the household chores.

  9. Gina,Missed you while you were gone,but the pictures and stories of your trip are so uplifting,your husband has to be a Godly man and leader with Christ in your home,and you bless me so much with your site, sometimes I am so down and discouraged then I get excited when I see you have written something,it always gives me the strength to keep on,God bless you and your family.

  10. That sounds like a real real interesting and enjoyable winter break. You call Pennsylvania cold and bleak? Did it go down to minu 35? lol! Actually I am not looking forward to winter coming but I do just love our summers way up here in northern Alberta!


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