Today was another great day working with Common Hope. In the morning, I was connected with a social worker to go out into a village for a few surprise home visits. Wow, that was a unique experience. My social worker's name was Domingo. He spoke no English at all. Again, I'm so glad that I am able to communicate a bit in Spanish. We were dropped off at the top of this big huge hill in a remote little village named Hermano Pedro. We then walked up another few dirt paths to the homes. He knocked on their rickety tin dorrs held together with little pieces of metal. The first home was exactly like the one we built yesterday. It was one of the first ones built 13 years ago. In the tiny space, there were 3 twin beds, a double bed and a dresser thingy. It was jam packed with dirty blankets, sheets, clothes etc. I asked Domingo how many people live there and he said 6. It was quite sad the poverty they live in. They cook on an open fire outside their little one bedroom home. Our hospitality person at Common Hope said that respiratory issues are a big problem in these communities due to breathing in all that smoke all the time. They also have stove-building projects to provide stoves that vent outside the homes and keep the fumes away from their faces. They do have some electricity, but no plumbing or anything like that. At this visit, Domingo asked the mother about all her children and about school. It is a requirement that the children are attending school in order to maintain their affiliation with Common Hope. One of her daughters (15 year old) has run off with a boy and is living somewhere with him. Common Hope will do what they can to track her down.
The second home we visited was very similar in the level of living, but the home was a little bigger and it wasn't quite as dirty. This family has a mother, father, 7 children and 2 nephews living there. They basically only have 2 rooms. All these homes were up a dirt path into the mountainside. It is amazing the way some people live in this world. Domingo reminded the family that they need to contact him if there are any health issues, economic, social issues etc. that come up. He does a great job with these families. The services that Common Hope provides are a great asset to the communities surrounding Antigua.
Finally, in the afternoon, half of us worked on building wall panels back at Common Hope. That involved pounding quite a few nails and drilling some holes. We worked on that for about 3 hours. Tomorrow we are going back to the house we built yesterday and doing a house blessing ceremony with the family. We will present them with 2 bags of food and a few little items for the kids. I can't wait for that! Then it's off to the Earth Lodge for a night and the next day we'lll hike back into Antigua. I leave super early on Saturday for my 7 am flight home. I can't believe how fast this trip has gone. We have been very busy and active the entire time which makes the time fly by. I heard there was no snow day for Moundsview! Sorry people!
Until next time, Kristin