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The house that the Jules are building

Julie & I got up early this morning…I believe Julie exclaimed, “You woke me up at 5:30 in the morning!” haha to which I said, “No, 5:45.”

We showered, ate a good breakfast, and finally met Maria our activities coordinator for the week. Maria is wonderful lady and very helpful. She was just coming back from vacation and had a flood of emails and visitors stopping by her office to welcome her back to work.
Maria, Juli & Lys
While we were waiting to get set up to work construction we met a gentlemen, Chuck, from Iowa who volunteers one or two days a week while he and his wife are in Antigua. He told us that they spend their winters in Antigua and absolutely love the area and the people. This is their fourth winter here.
Chuck & Julie
I also had a chance to visit with Lys she was the activities coordinator on my last visit. Lys looked wonderful and her son has grown like a little weed.

Once the paperwork was complete Julie & I headed out to the construction site to meet Mario. Mario sent us to work with Maura a long term volunteer from Minnesota. Maura happened to be working with Chuck, we all just burst into chatter getting to know each other a little better as we started swinging our hammers.
Felix, Maura, Chuck, Juli & Julie
Things operate just as I remember from my last trip, very relaxed. We work hard but not too hard. About an hour in to our first wall Felix made an appearance. I had worked with Felix last March. It was great to see him. I learned that Pablo the other gentlemen I worked with last year was off today because he was celebrating his birthday. He’ll be joining us tomorrow.

Felix and I caught up a bit, my Spanish has improved since last time, I understand so much more than before, and Felix well, his English has improved tremendously. We had several really great talks throughout the day.
As we pounded away at the walls to this prefab style house I was reminded of how the housing process works at Common Hope. Families are assessed and housing is determined base off need. When it is determined what the need is and if they desire housing then Common Hope offers to assist them in building a home. In exchange for the home the family must volunteer their services within the organization as no one is given anything. Each family essentially works for their home.

We learned that the average home is 12x16 the design in a similar fashion as our prefab homes, with the idea in mind that the homeowner can take it down and put on a back of a truck a move to a new location if necessary. It is very uncommon for people to own their own land most are renters or squatters. 
Felix, Maura, Chuck & Juli
As the morning progressed Felix, who also is a coffee grower with As Green As It Gets, made us all a nice cup of cappuccino for our break. It was delicious!

By lunch we had completed five walls, Chuck headed home & Maura was off to meet a friend who was coming to visit. Felix, Julie & I went to lunch. Oh my goodness we ate!  A short time later, Felix found us sitting at the construction site soaking up the sun and on the verge of a serious nap. It was decided that we had to make a trip in town to pick up some concrete and the local hardware store.
Volcanoes: Agua, Fuego and Acatenango 
Felix being a gracious driver said “Un pocito toura (a little tour).” We passed through Antigua, San Miguel, San Pedro and back to Antigua. He pointed out the different volcanoes by name Agua, Fuego and Acatenango. It was wonderful to be able to identify them all.

In San Miguel we stopped and visited a family that works within the As Green As It Gets organization that Felix knew. There Felix gave us a quick version of how coffee beans are processed. On the way back from the families’ house he drove us past several coffee fincas explaining on the way that some are smaller and a few are the larger ones. It got us both very excited to make a journey over to As Green As It Gets.
A family working with As Green As It Gets & Felix
When we returned from our little tour we went back to work for a short while unloading the heavy concrete bags, we pulled each one off the back of the truck and stacked them up on a table. This will be used later to lay the concrete floor at the house site. Felix the crazy boy sat on the back of the truck and watched us unload these heavy bags and laughed at us as we struggled. It was pretty funny. Words of the day was “Ahh Julie no feliz. No happy…”
Juli after a day of construction
At the end of the shift Julie and I were filthy dirty and exhausted. We walked away from the job site feeling proud of our accomplishment as we had built six walls and stacked eight 50 pound bags of concrete all on our own.

Tomorrow is shaping up to be another day just like today and I for one can hardly wait!

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