Tuesday, July 05, 2005
Enjoy your 10 foot by 10 foot house!
This is Dane and Brent (in the Adidas shirt) and a kid from another group working on one of the houses we were building. I'd like to give a big shout out to bricklayers, because it's not an easy job. There's a lot of leveling and mortaring and leveling and re-doing the mortaring. And even though this was a church trip, there is also a lot of under the breath cussing at the stupid bricks. This was their second day at this house, and then my crew was there the last two days. We got all of seven rows completed. Not rows, courses, as Karen's husband informed me. Anyway, the house measures about 10x10. Yeah, I know. However, if you see in the background of this picture, the place where the curtain is is the bathroom, and to the left of that is where they do their cooking. The photog is standing in front of the current sleeping area. The thing about Juarez is that while it's relatively easy to get land, the government requires that you build a permanent residence on it immediately or lose it. Therefore, there are a lot of shacks. Places are mostly built of cardboard or wood pallets, so we're upgrading this family to cinderblock.
Also, even though you can't see it in the picture, right over the boys' heads was the main electrical line. It's a live wire rigged up as best as it can be, and it's pirated from the electrical lines run by the electric company. You see, in Juarez, there is one electric company, and it is run by the government. Therefore, you're totally at their mercy and as a result, the service is hit or miss at best. Most of the houses have their own electricity rigged up because it's easier than dealing with the monopoly. The same is true of the water -- the government controls that as well and can (and does) shut off the water randomly and without warning. That was the reason that we couldn't take showers -- there's a water shortage and we didn't want to use too much. Anyway, most of the houses have these big square concrete things outside of their houses that they store water in, in case it's shut off. Despite all that and the fact that it's so dusty and hot there, everyone is really clean. The kids were always clean and well dressed, and the bathroom at the site where we were building the house was sparkling clean. I also saw a lot of women sweeping their dirt floors every night. It's really apparent that family and home is really important to them, no matter what their circumstances are. It was really cool.