Sunday, March 27, 2011

Pandy Town

Welcome to Pandy Town, a fishing village sharing the Oakridge Bight with the town of Oakridge. It's about halfway up the island. This purple building in the above photo is the local gas station. No pumps here. Just pull up in your boat and they'll bring out a jug of gasoline, diesel or kersosene, whatever you need.

Debi and I attended a women's conference at the Church of God in Pandy Town this week. We had no real directions but knew Pandy Town was near Oakridge and Debi had a vague idea of how to get there. We've both been to Oakridge and knew our way there. Debi did remember the turnoff, but then we were clueless. After driving around, looking for English speaking people to ask for directions, getting mis-directed by Spanish speakers (including the police), Debi found a man who was able to literally point us in the right direction. We had missed it by one turn. We were late, but not really. Islanders rarely start anything on time. They have a very casual approach to time. So the main speaker had just barely begun when we arrived.

One of the reasons we wanted to attend this conference was to support the speaker, Darla. She's a former islander who has lived in Canada for 30+ years. Now that she's retired, she has dedicated herself to serving the women of Roatan by bringing Bible study materials (she provided us with Beth Moore's Believing God study, including the videos) and women's conferences. She was thrilled to see us come in and sit down. Islanders love to interact and interject during sermons and teachings, so there was a constant buzz of affirmations. Loved it!

Afterwards, everyone was invited to stay for lunch and they just insisted that Debi and I stay, so with just a bit of arm twisiting, we agreed. Fabulous rice and beans made with coconut milk and mutton peppers! Stewed chicken and cole slaw. Standard island food and, oh, so tasty!

After lunch, we drove along slowly, taking photos, drinking in the culture. This bight is very deep, allowing large fishing boats to come in for repairs. There were a couple of smaller fishing boats being built nearby. The main industry on this island used to be fishing with the largest fishing fleet in the Caribbean, now that has shifted to tourism.

The approach into Pandy Town. This is where we had to back track and ask for directions. We discovered that the part of the town along the bight is mostly English-speaking islanders, and that the Spanish speakers (from the mainland) live just up the hills surrounding the bight. We also found a cute little secondhand clothing shop here and spent some time browsing.  Shops like that abound on the island and get their goods from large shipments of clothing from the US and other places. This shop had huge plastic wrapped bundles of clothing stacked against one wall, waiting to be opened.

Looking back across the end of the bight at Pandy Town. Love the colorful buildings.
So glad we went. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, March 26, 2011

A Sunday Treat

Our usual routine on Sundays is to go to church, lunch and then meet up with friends at Infinity Bay for some beach time and good visiting (and snorkeling, of course). Last Sunday we were invited to the home of our friends, Lynne and Snider, who have a beautiful place at Blue Harbor. Lynne and Snider are pinch-hitting for our pastor who is on furlough with his family. Part of their duties are to continue mentoring and teaching some of the young Spanish-speaking men in the church. They chose to invite them, their significant others and us for lunch at their home. What a beautiful spot for lunch!!
There are only two homes built in this development, giving it a nice park-like setting.
Part of the invitation included taking a dip in their infinity lap pool. It was a little on the cool side, so I was enjoying sitting on the side of the pool, talking to Snider.  Spectacular view.
This part of the island doesn't have the white sand beaches and does have a LOT of sand fleas. Snider is constantly searching for ways to combat them. His latest method, a fogger, seems to be working pretty well. We got very few bites.
A lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon.Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Water Weary

Oh, the fun with water never ends, and I'm not talking about snorkeling either. Don is getting pretty fed-up with this continuous string of water-related incidents.

All our problems stem from the water tank leak that Dennis had about 10+ days ago. Don had fixed our shower, fixed the sink, fixed the toilet and then cleaned out our reserve tank. The new internal toilet parts have not wanted to work properly, mainly refusing to shut off, but we were putting up with it until he felt like putting on his plumber pants again.

Last night, while cleaning up the dinner dishes, we had no hot water. Our kitchen hot water comes from an extra small heating unit mounted under the kitchen sink. It occurred to us that perhaps some of the sand that had clogged up everything else might have found its way to the water heater. So, this morning, Don reported for plumber duty, and sure enough, nothing went right. That's why he hates plumbing so much.

He worked on the water heater first and emptied out a dish of sandy water. He flushed and flushed the water lines and in the process, got the inside of the cabinet quite wet; it is now being fanned back to dryness and the contents of the cabinet are strewn all over the kitchen. Next he went to work on the toilet and actually just replaced the new flushing assembly with the old one. It didn't want to work. So, one wouldn't work at all and one wouldn't quit working. And somehow, during all of that, he lost the washer from the water line to the toilet, so had to borrow the cold water line from the kitchen sink in order to make the toilet work. He also re-installed the new flushing assembly. The toilet works, but now I have no cold water in the kitchen!  He'll have to buy a new washer tomorrow after we get our car back (yes, it's in the shop again!)

I strongly encouraged him to go up and talk to Dennis about our continuing water problems and try to find both a cause and a solution. Dennis wasn't home this afternoon, so that conversation will have to wait.
I don't think Don can take many more of these plumbing issues.

And you thought life was carefree on the island, didn't you!

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Revenge of The Cat

I didn't see it happen, so I can't prove it, but it could well be that the pepper-sprayed cat has taken his revenge on Don.

Here's what happened. This morning, while sitting in the porch swing doing my Bible lessons, I began to notice an unpleasant smell. Now, I am unusually sensitive to odors, so I didn't get too concerned right away. But then the scent seemed to grow stronger and was somewhat familiar. Suddenly, the awful memory of cat urine popped into my mind. Oh no! I hopped off the swing and began looking around for the source of the smell. And then I saw it. A suspicious puddle in Don's flip flop! I cautiously picked up the shoe and sniffed. Yup. Cat pee.

I did not see a cat slip onto our deck while I was sitting out there, so I have no way of knowing if it was the cat who was sprayed spraying back. Does seem somewhat fitting though, doesn't it?

So I grabbed the box of baking soda and liberally sprinkled the shoe and the small spot on the deck right beside the door. After a while, I blasted both with the hose. I sniffed the shoe again and decided another dose of baking soda might be in order.  And here's where the cat's revenge extended to include me: I opened the door, took one step inside, immediately slid on the wet tile floor (which I didn't realize was wet), and then pitched forward, landing HARD on my hands, right knee and foot. OUCH! I may be black and blue for a few days.

Not sure the baking soda really helped Don's shoes. They may get tossed in the trash, along with the cat if he shows up here again!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Mr. Don, When Can We Swim?

                                              Hilda, Gracie, Leydi (and the fingers of Hasey)
Leydi has been asking that question every time she sees Don; she wants to go swimming! Rick and Luz Maria took the girls swimming for the first time while they were here early this month. Leydi was initially very fearful of the water, but Rick said she began to get more comfortable with it by the end of that afternoon. And then she was desperate to go again!

We told Leydi that we would also take Hilda, Gracie and Hasey. They were all so excited. We just had to find a suitable pool. Don and I checked with the manager of the pool at the former Oasis Bar and Grill and he gave his approval. Business has been very slow there and he was excited at the prospect of having customers. The day we stopped in for lunch, we were the only customers.

                                                                       Little Hasey.

We agreed to pick the girls up at Son Rise church at 2:00 and they were ready and waiting for us. We loaded them up in the car and went by to pick up David Cowan. The minute we started driving towards the Oasis, Hasey began crying. I asked the other girls to find out what was troubling her, but she wouldn't say. A short drive later, we pulled into the Oasis and everyone got out. Hasey, who was still crying, immediately took off toward the road. I hollared "Stop, Hasey! No! No!" as I ran after her. She did not want to come back with me and wouldn't answer me either. I called the other girls over and they began asking her what was wrong. Finally, her big sister Gracie pulled her into her arms and just held her. She talked to her softly for a couple of minutes and all of a sudden, the tears stopped and she was fine. I was perplexed, but glad that she recovered. Gracie just shrugged when I asked what that was all about.

Once we got into the pool, Hasey was all smiles. Ear to ear.

Of the four girls, only Hilda can swim, so we had to keep a very close eye on the other three. The pool is quite large with a swim-up bar complete with underwater stools. We were the only customers again, and the girls loved splashing over to those stools and then back to the wide steps entering the pool. Leydi was the most timid, and actually, if the water had been a little warmer, she might have been a bit braver, but she spent a great deal of time shivering, teeth chattering. We've had a number of cloudy, rainy days, so the water was a little on the cool side. It was a warm, but not hot, day with alternating clouds and sun. I told her she could keep warm by moving, kept encouraging her and finally got her to hold onto the side of the pool and kick her legs. None of the girls are afraid of putting their heads under water. They would let go of the side and glide towards me, as long as I wasn't too far away.

The one who amazed me was little Hasey. I asked her if she wanted to learn to float and she nodded. At first she was holding onto me for dear life but after awhile, she was just laying across my arms. I'll bet she'll float on her own the next time we go!

And Hilda! A fish!! She was jumping from the sides, doing cannonballs, swimming under water, on her back, ever which way and did NOT want to go home.

The girls worked up quite an appetite. Don had told them he would buy them something to eat AFTER they swam. Leydi was starving from the time we arrived and was having a difficult time waiting. Hilda swam so much that she probably burned up a couple thousand calories and was also starving. So, we finally had to pause and order. They all wanted hamburgers and fries! And 'cokes'. Actually, they all wanted more than one hamburger! Rafael discovered that the kitchen only had 3 hamburger buns (the bread man had not shown up). Finally, two of the girls changed their orders to chicken fingers and fries. Then they could hardly wait for the food to come out. I began to think that these girls had not had any lunch before they came. The two who had ordered the burgers ate some and then wrapped the remainder to take home (they were huge burgers). They ate every french fry, though. And some chips and salsa. And two  'cokes' each. A very good day.

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Monday, March 14, 2011

More Water Woes

We've had more fun with water today. After finally flushing out all the pipes and cleaning the bathrooms, we thought we were home free. This morning, while using our bathroom sink, I noticed a leak around the faucet assembly. Then I heard a small drip, drip, drip under the sink. Don was called into action. He soon concluded that that particular leak could not be fixed; the whole assembly would have to be replaced. Fortunately, we are going to French Harbor tomorrow and can stop by the new Ace Hardware store for a replacement.
We live on a steep hillside. That's our house in the photo above. Along side both sides of the road, there are gutters to drain rainwater. We've had a lot of rain over the past four days which washed a lot of leaves into the gutters. The coral trees lining our side of the road are dropping leaves (aided somewhat by the leaf-cutter ants). The heavy rains have pushed all those leaves down the gutter and deposited them beside our top step, plugging up the small culvert under that step. The plug kept growing larger with every rain (we kept forgetting to go unplug it when it wasn't raining). This morning, while Don was working on the faucet,  I decided to pick up all those leaves, not realizing that there would be ants under the leaves just waiting for someone to bite. Yikes! One foot covered in ant bites. At least they weren't fire ants.
This is an old photo of Rachel and Don standing on the road beside our house (and Merlin's workers walking up the hill).

Another shot from in front of our house, looking down the road.
Those gutters work much better when not full of leaves.

Dennis stopped by with our electric bill this morning. We were discussing the water situation, how dirty the water was at first, how our reserve tank had collected a lot of that dirt. He said he had switched us over to his other huge tank which is now full of clean well water and safe to drink. He said that he has spent so much money on pump repairs, tank repairs, pipe repairs, that he is going to have to charge us more for water.  At least we have clean water again. I'm now catching up on laundry and hoping that our water woes are firmly behind us.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Water Woes

This has been a week of water challenges. The crack in the large (750 gal.) tank above Dennis' house had to be repaired. To do this, Dennis had to quit pumping water from the well up to the tank and let it dry out for a couple of days. We had our 250 gal. reserve tank full and Dennis had his reserve tanks full also. Don had filled all available pitchers, tea kettles, empty juice and coke bottles with drinking water before the pump was shut down. We were ready. Monday we still had good water as Dennis allowed the leaking tank to empty out. Tuesday we had to switch to our reserve tank. Don monitored our usage and after one day, we had run through 1/3 of the tank. We decreased our water usage and still had some water on Friday when Dennis was ready to begin pumping again. He cautioned us not to drink this water until it had flushed out all the pipes and the tank. Don switched the valves to allow the well water to flow to our house and opened up the faucets and showers to let the dirty water wash out.

Holy cow! We were not prepared for the mess that followed.

This is what our shower looked like after both shower heads blasted away. It might have looked worse if the valves hadn't clogged with sediment thus shutting off the water flow. The toilet clogged and stopped working after two flushes. The sink followed suit.
The inside of the toilet.

We were in a real predicament because our reserve tank was now empty. One bathroom was out of commission and we were a bit afraid to test out the other shower. Thankfully, the other toilet kept working! The water coming out of the kitchen faucet was not as dirty as it had been but was also not clean, with little black specks floating in it.

We also had several downpours yesterday making any investigation difficult. The rain continued through the night and this morning, but Don was able to go down under the house (which is built up on poles), open up the valves in the water lines and drain them. Then he came back up to take apart the faucets, and  showerheads. He went back down under the house, closed the valves to allow water to flow and blasted water through the pipes before coming up to clean and replace the parts.  While he was putting everything back together he decided to go ahead and replace the cantankerous toilet innards while he was cleaning; the new assembly worked exactly one time before failing. That did not make him happy.
He replaced the little rubber diaphragm; still didn't work. Then he did some other little adjustment, and it began working. One showerhead clogged back up, but the other one is (so far) working ok.

We are keeping our fingers crossed that everything will continue to work while the remainder of the dirt gets washed through the pipes.

And after 2 inches of rain in the last day and a half, we seem to have a lull and even a bit of weak sunlight. Maybe the rain is over.
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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Don't Try This At Home Either

We recently had a unique experience involving cats. It seems that a number of neighborhood cats, some possibly wild, have taken a liking to our deck, either on it or under it. They liked to get together and howl, fight, shriek and generally just make a lot of noise. In the middle of the night. Sometimes multiple times during the night. With just enough time in between for you to fall back asleep.

Don had a plan. We have some pepper spray that we keep beside our bed for protection against intruders. Don figured that these intruders might not be human nor dangerous, but they were intruders, annoying as all get-out, and perhaps could be discouraged by a friendly blast of pepper spray.  So, anytime he heard the cats on our deck, he would get up and try to sneak out onto the deck; somehow they always heard him and ran off.

One night, he succeeded. He was able to slip out onto the deck and blast the yellow tomcat who was lounging on my lounge chair and making a terrible racket. The cat took off like a rocket, ran right into the gate and then hopped onto the retaining wall. Don gave him another little blast as a parting gift. Problem solved. We went back to bed and back to sleep.

Early the next morning, before it was fully light, Don was on the deck lifting weights and as usual, got onto one of the loungers which doubles as his weight bench. Pretty soon, he became aware that the backs of his legs were burning. A lot. That was the lounger that the cat had been using. Apparently the chair was covered with pepper spray fallout. He warned me not to sit there.

Not long after that, I went in to take a shower, turned on the water, splashed water on my face and instantly my right eye was on fire! What!? There was nothing sprayed in the bathroom. Don had not been in the shower before me. What had I touched that had been pepper sprayed?

That wasn't the end of it either. All throughout the day and into the next day, we would touch something and then rub our faces or touch our lips and have instant heat. Don sat in the other lounge chair with his arms on the arm rests and soon his arms were burning. That pepper spray is powerful stuff. He also sprayed the gate at the entrance to our deck when he gave the cat the last blast, so everytime we grabbed the gate, we got a bit of the spray on us.

Don spent considerable time scrubbing on the deck trying to remove all traces of the spray, but even after that we would feel traces of it on our skin from time to time. He finally conceded that pepper spraying the cat had not worked as planned and should be avoided in the future, except for actual human intruders.

As annoying as the cat had been, I felt really sorry for him. I'm sure he had a miserable day.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Automotive Experience on Roatan

The Automotive Experience on Roatan

Guest Commentary
Don Gartner

A while back I wrote about auto repair on Roatan.  A couple of recent events prompt this brief update.

After having had bad experiences with two mechanics, Jeanette and I have finally found one who does good work for a decent price.  He was trained as a mechanic on the mainland.  An added bonus is that he speaks excellent English.  He has done three or four repair jobs for us.  His name is Fredy.  (Yes, a single d.)

One day after Fredy had completed a minor repair, we went to his shop to pay and pick up our car.  I climbed into it, turned the key, and nothing happened.  Fredy came over and checked the battery.  Dead.

I said, “Well, I’m guessing you’ve got some jumper cables.”

Fredy smiled and said no.  Then he walked over to the shop and came back carrying another battery.  He said, “Don’t try this at home.”  One of his workers got into the car, ready to turn the key.  Fredy checked the polarities of the car battery and the one he had brought out.  Then he simply turned the new battery upside down and set it on our car’s battery, terminals to terminals.  His worker turned the key, our car started, and Fredy removed the new battery.

These Hondurans can be pretty clever.

They also know how to take advantage of opportunities.

Recently a new friend was looking for a car or truck.  A couple weeks went by, and he said he had finally found one.  It turned out we knew this vehicle.  Another friend of ours had it last year before he left the island.

Now this is an interesting vehicle.  It is an Xterra.  Looks okay, but it needs a lot of work and is probably unsafe to drive above about twenty miles an hour.  But that is not the interesting part.  Like many vehicles on the island, it has no paperwork.  That is, no title.

That’s really not much of a problem, usually.  Vehicles have to be registered every year.  It’s the equivalent of renewing your license in the United States.  You take your current registration card to the local office, pay your money, and get a new card, which is supposed to be carried in the car at all times.

The Xterra had last year’s registration card.  Normally, no problem.  Except that somewhere along the line its license plates had disappeared.  No doubt someone needed plates and stole them.  (The police generally don’t care if the plates match the number on the registration card, only if you have plates.  Any plates.)

Somehow, our new friend found out about an enterprising individual on the mainland who could get him plates.  Well, not exactly “get.”  He would make the plates.  To be clear, he was not connected with the police or government in any way.  His business was hand-making license plates.

We first saw the Xterra from a distance of maybe fifty feet and remarked that the plates really did look official.  It was a high-quality job.  When you get up close – a few feet away – you can see that they’re hand painted.  Hey, no one cares.  Our friend was all set.

Counterfeit license plates.  Who would have thought?

If there’s an opportunity to make a buck, these Hondurans will find it.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

A Day of Adventures

This was certainly a day packed with adventures. And yes, that may be a submarine in the photo above!
We started out the day with a 2 hour power outage. Then Dennis dropped by to tell us that there was a bad leak in the main water tank up the hill (where the well water is pumped into), it would have to be drained, dried and repaired which meant that we would have no water for several days. Fortunately, we have our own reserve tank and can go several days using it for everything except drinking water. Don went right in to the kitchen and began filling pitchers, empty juice and Coke bottles with drinking water. I mentioned that we could buy a jug of drinking water. Later, Dennis called to report that he would not shut off the water until Monday when he got the parts he needed, so catch up on laundry, etc. in the meantime.
Rick and Luz called to tell us about an open house at the girls' school this morning from 8-12, so we got ready to go. As we were walking up to our car, we noticed this strange looking ship out in the sea. If we hadn't already locked the house and gates, we would have pulled out our telescope for a closer look, but it sure does looks like a submarine (click to enlarge). Could not tell whose submarine.

The principal met us at the gate to the school (kept locked) and explained that it wasn't really an open house, per se, but a "welcome back to school" party for the kids, and parents and sponsors were welcome to visit. She said that Susan, Rick and Luz had already been there. It was pretty chaotic and loud. Loud speakers in the courtyard booming out music, kids running around, lots of balloons, people walking around with plates of food, much laughter and talking.
We made our way to Leydi's classroom without getting hit by a soccer ball and only one child ran into me. Whew! Leydi's teacher, who introduced himself as 'Carlos', greeted us. He was happy to meet Leydi's sponsors and gave us a brief report. He said she is a very good student and very serious about her work. I said I was amazed at how quickly she was picking up English; he said, yes, he has been working hard with her and she is just soaking it up. I asked if she was having problems in any areas, and he said no, but he was being attentive to the possibility. He saw my camera and very quietly said "class, photos" and they immediately formed this little group!! Honduran children love to have their photo taken, well, except for Leydi who clearly thinks I take too many photos. That's Leydi on the right in the back row.
She did smile for this shot with Don. She had called 'Mr. Don' over and told him in English that she had white shoes for her P.E. class. She had a plate of food wrapped up to take home, perhaps to share with Concepcion. The kids were all eating or just finishing up when we got there, and what a feast they had! For a child like Leydi, this was a great treat. They even had cake. As we were leaving, we met one of the office women carrying a plate of food and asked what kind of cake she had, and instead of telling me, she handed the plate to us! Not sure what it was, but it was good; heavy and dense, like a pound cake, very moist, very different flavor - yucca, perhaps.
We found Gracie and this classmate alone in their classroom. I asked her if she was having fun and she shrugged and put a hand to her ear. I said "yes, it's very loud, isn't it?" The fifth graders in the next room where incredibly loud. Don't know where the rest of her classmates were.

It was a far cry from anything you'd see in an American school, but the kids were having fun and generally speaking were not out of control. And so eager to have their photos taken! Lots of happy faces and full tummys.

As we made our way back to our car, Leydi came running up to the gate, crying "Mr. Don. Mr. Don. When can we swim at your house?" Yes, all in English. Rick and Luz had taken all the girls swimming Wednesday after school at the resort where they are staying. That was really a treat! Leydi was initially fearful, but pretty soon was splashing and having fun. Apparently she really liked, because she wants to go again. Don said he didn't know for sure, we had to find a place to take them. She was relentless in trying to pin him down!!

We went to the market to get fruit and the pharmacy to get drugs. This time I got generic Protonix, 70 tablets for about $7.00 US. Unbelievable. In the US I pay anywhere from $117. to $135. for 30 tablets!! And we got a 15% discount off the total because we are residents!! Woo hoo!

The adventures were far from over. After lunch, I picked up Debi and we set off for French Harbor to get haircuts. We're both tired of Nadia's cuts and ready to try someone new. Brenda was recommended by a friend, so we went to her shop. Lights off, door locked. Lunch break, maybe? Debi called one of the phone numbers on the window and the person she spoke with didn't know where Brenda was nor had a number for her, but said the shop was closed permanently. I had to stop at Ace Hardware and get a small can of stain for Don, so Debi went over to the saleswomen and asked if they knew Brenda. No, but they recommended Lucy in French Harbor, said she was very good...and cheap, about 100 lempiras ($5.00) for a cut. We were off in a flash! The directions: yellow house in French Harbor, sign says "Lucy". We found it, right on the water. She was busy with other people, but her helpers welcomed us, gave us hair styling books to look at and asked if we also wanted manicures.

When it was my turn, I was shampooed by her assistant, and prepped with clips and cape. Lucy asked in Spanish what I wanted and I said "mismo, pero corte about this much en todo," and prayed that she understood. She did! Fabulous cut, nicely shaped. (I know, a minor miracle!) They did charge me 300 lempiras (still only about $16.) Debi wanted something different and although it was cut a bit shorter than she expected, it was so cute! She was delighted. Lucy was going to charge her 140 lempiras because Debi mentioned that she is a resident, but the assistant whispered in Spanish that she had charged the other woman (me) 300 lempiras, so that's what Debi was charged also. Next time, we'll mentioned the residency first for the discounted price. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, March 3, 2011

More Photos from Tanya's Casa

Tanya's younger brother, Eguardo, wanted to help. He was given the job of mixing cement to help Guido who was pouring a concrete floor under the house. Guido was doing this job for $160. US! He had some materials left over from finishing Concepcion's job. Don't know how much Eguardo enjoyed this hard work of mixing gravel, cement and water into concrete, but he evidently did a good job. And he's only 11 years old.
Eguardo really got into it, didn't he? His lower body and bare feet are covered with cement dust.
They had just had their water day and every available container had been filled with water to last the family for the next 8 days. Note the large rectangular container on the left near the wall. That's part of an old refrigerator recycled to become a bathtub of sorts. Don watched Edguardo wash off the cement dust. He filled a bucket with water from the refrigerator, poured it over his body, soaped up, and then filled another bucket with water and dumped it over his head to rinse. He just stood next to the fridge, not in it, keeping the water clean for the next person.
Can you imagine how many mosquitoes would be attracted to all these containers of standing water?
The kids don't have electricity yet, so an extension cord was run from the construction site to a neighbor's house down the hill. Don will wire the house for electricity later.
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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Building Tanya's Casa

Yesterday the work on the house for Tanya and her siblings continued. The siding had arrived and was carried up the steep hillside by some of the younger men. The siding was pretty wet, adding to the weight; the guys sure got a workout. In this top photo you can see the house that the kids are currently living in. The lumber laying on the floor is for the roof. The team last week got the floor down and the walls and roof framed with some strapping, but not enough. Work had stopped until the siding came in.
You can see some of the cross pieces being added to the roof. The cross members are not big enough to support the weight of the tin roof across a 20 foot span, though, they all agreed. Something will have to be done about that before putting up the tin.
 Chuck was able to drive his truck all the way up the road to the house (quite a feat!) after making some repairs to the washed out road. He was able to bring his air compressor, ladders and other tools up in the truck plus the guys got a ride up. Then they carried everything up the steep path to the house.
Here they are putting up the first panels of siding. That's Larry kneeling on top, Jordan on the ladder, Rick holding the ladder, and Snider powering up the nail gun.
You can see how steep the construction site is in this photo. That's Kevin at the bottom of the ladder, Clifford on the ladder with the nail gun, Chuck at the bottom passing something up to Snider who is leaning through the wall framing. They finished installing the siding. Now they must wait until the roofing materials come in before doing more.

These photos were all taken by Don (good job, honey!). I'll post more later.
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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Dinner With Friends

Our friends from San Antonio are here and are anxious to see everyone. Their first night here, we spread the word that we were having dinner at Blue Bahia. You've heard me talk about all of these people, so let me introduce you. In the top photo we have The Campbells from Canada: Colleen, Larry and Susan (our partners in matriculation); The Vicks: Snider and Lynne (who took Spanish lessons with us); and The Moores: Luz Maria and Rick (our San Antonio pals). Colleen is just here for a couple of weeks, visiting her parents, and it has been delightful getting to know her.
As you can see, a beach-side restaurant is a lovely setting for dinner. They actually let me get in this photo!

We got more opportunity to practice our Spanish today. Don and Rick, Larry and Snider and Colleen's boyfriend went up into the colonia with Pastor Chuck to work on the kids' house. I'll post more photos in the next blog. The women all went to Son Rise for the Spanish women's Bible class taught by Tia and translated by Brandi. This was my first time to actually stay for the class and I really enjoyed it! Tia was teaching the women about the Great Commission and how important it is to share their faith with their neighbors. Colleen was involved with Campus Crusade for Christ and presented the 4 spiritual laws. The women repeated the 4 laws in Spanish and then split into pairs to practice on one another. Tia encouraged the women to join her Saturday as she goes up into the colonia to witness. It will be interesting to see who does. The women sang hymns in Spanish and prayer needs were addressed. Afterwards, the women visited over coffee. I was able, in my feeble Spanish, to learn more about some of them and even shared that I'm going to be a grandmother in June. I was surprised at how much I'm able to understand...much more than I'm able to speak!
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