How does one sum up such a full and rewarding three weeks?
We could start with the facts:
* Five new classrooms – The structural elements have been completed, and the community is tackling the finish work such as paint and flooring.
* 4600 blocks – We had just 198 blocks left over when we finished. Kudos to Louie for his careful planning in drawing up the materials list.
* $10,000 under budget (!) – Thanks to our Honduran partner, Chris, and her deft negotiating skills, we have a down-payment on our next project.
* Five years completed – With a monitoring trip in December, we’ll have completed our five year commitment in Honduras. What comes next?
While those are exciting facts, our project meant much more to us. We met new friends and reconnected with old friends:
* Chris Padilla – Chris knows how to get things done! She can negotiate a killer deal and give a motivational speech that mobilizes an entire community.
* Armando – Curt has offered Armando a faculty position at WWU in the “school of hard work.” We admire Armando for his work ethic and his kindness.
* Froilan and Don Chema – Froilan was the 24/7 security guard at the project. Both gentlemen rounded up the labor necessary to complete the project.
* Wilfredo – “Gui,” as we called him, befriended us. He and his family amazed us with their dedication to the project and their warm hospitality.
* Sylvia, Eugenia, and Suyapa – These three ladies fed us wonderful food and washed our laundry. By the end of the trip, we considered them our friends.
We learned together with the community:
* Building design tips – Louie and Alex tactfully shared their technical knowledge through conversations, pictures, drawings, and technical literature.
* Construction skills – Armando patiently taught each team member how to lay block. Welding lessons didn’t go quite so well, but at least we tried.
* Cultural exchange – We challenged (and surprised) the community with how fast a school can be built when everyone works diligently. The community taught us how to have fun even while working long hours in the intense heat.
We continue to reflect on the project, celebrating success while pondering ways that we can improve our work in the future. Thank you to each one of you for your support. You were a valuable member of this project, and we’ve been delighted to share a glimpse of the action with you through this blog.