Monday, April 25, 2011

Day 5: The Foundation

Last night we had a huge thunder and lighting storm...this has been happening for several nights now.  I woke up this morning after having a full 8 hours of sleep feeling MUCH better....I'm hoping I don't have to go through that ever again!

As usual we left the hotel around 8:30am for our first day back to the village in 4 days...feels like we've been gone for much longer.  Today the entire team was working on the foundation of the first home we started at.  When we arrived, the homeowner had made huge progress since last time we were there.  The holes were all covered in, the rebar in place, some cement poured and some brick walls put up as part of the foundation.

As part of the foundation work today, we had to mix sand, cement and small gravel stones together.  Then we created a type of human chain to pass the bowls of cement that were then pour into forms.  Since it was slightly raining out today, many of the villagers were out on the streets wondering why we were working in the rain.  They are not used to people doing this...especially foreigners...and some of them kept taping on their heads worried about us getting wet.  It was quite the spectacle really....I think we are a bit of entertainment for the locals at times.

By noon, we had poured the entire foundation of the house...the house will be one large room and two smaller rooms.  While we were working on the foundation there was a fairly large dispute happening right next door.  We were unsure what was actually happening....especially when all of a sudden furniture was being carried out of the house, along with clothes and pots & pans.  Thanks to Siva, one of our team members who speaks Tamil,we found out that the 1st wife of one of the men in the village was being kicked out of the house and the 2nd wife was moving in.  Before you knew it, her stuff was packed and she was gone... I guess they do divorce slightly different in India!!!! 

During the morning, one of the young boys was very interested in talking to us and showing us his school work.  He went over the entire solar system with me and then he decided to get everyone's signature and name in his book....he was pretty excited about that.  I also spent some time watching a woman cleaning her clothes.  I'm amazed at this washing machine in this village!!  The women rub the clothes on a rock and then slam them against it to beat the water out...pretty impressive really.  Delicate wash does not exist in India!!!  I'm sure they think we are crazy when we are trying to get pictures of them doing this.

Over lunch I was chatting with Kyle...he is the son of the REAL woman...we can't remember her name, so this is what we've resorted to calling her.  REAL is the organization that is partnering on this build with Habitat and she lives in the village and is the lead from that perspective.  She is such a sweet woman and Kyle definitely has her smile.  He is around allot when he's not in school...he speaks a bit of English as well.

After lunch I went to work on the 4th house we've been working on...this time to knock down a mud wall.  This is the house where two families will be living...a husband and wife, their son, his wife and three children and their 8 people all together.  The mud wall we are knocking down is part of their old home, that must be torn down when a Habitat home is built.  We were told that this type of poverty home would only last a maximum of 10 years since it was made of mud.  We also had to move 500 bricks from the front of the house to the back of the house where they are going to build an area for a toilet.

What a great day....I really like working together as a whole team.  I think this was the first time we did this since we arrived.  It's also nice to finally see some real progress....walls going up and a structure being built.  We had a lot of rain over the past several days and we found out the holes we dug at the second home....which we haven't gone back to yet...are partially washed away.  Heartbreaking to see all our work just wash away before our eyes.

We headed back to the hotel around 4pm, I did a little shopping and then we met at 7:30pm for dinner.  Tonight we went to a restaurant outside the hotel....nice treat and a nice change.  It was a nice place called Le Club in the French district.  We had good wine, nice food and great couldn't ask for more!!  We finished the evening off with a ride home in our bus....neon disco lights and all!!!

Until tomorrow....

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