A week ago today we broke ground on a new home in San Miguel Duenas. It is currently only a few rows of cinder block, a cement floor, and a sheet metal roof away from completion. By Thursday it should be ready for its family...and you thought your contractor was on the level when he told you your deck would take three weeks. Then again, he probably didn’t have the assistance of nine enthusiastic young DWC volunteers and an expert Guatemalan home-builder named Carlos—who we’ve collectively decided to rename “C-money”, because his measurements are always right on it (the money that is).
Panajachel was our destination for the weekend. We descended into this lakeside town on the slightly treacherous cliff-side road late Saturday morning. Despite the overcast skies; the view of the lake from the windows of our van made Carly’s reasons for booking the excursion obvious. We caught some poolside rays when the clouds permitted, walked up and down the main street to haggle over bracelets or hats or hacky-sacks, and got to know each other a little too well over several boxes of fine wine. The next morning the clouds parted sufficient to gift my legs with a bright red sunburn that one Antigua pharmacist would later describe as “quite severe”...all in all a fantastic weekend.
As I write this I am back in Teresa’s house enjoying some fresh air from the open courtyard behind me. Tomorrow she is taking us to a waterfall in Duenes. Although the morning off work is more than welcomed, we are all looking forward to getting back to the building site in the afternoon to finish off the house we’ve all worked so hard to build. My lower back may be a little sore from mixing cement, my legs may be a lot red from sun exposure, and my eyelids may be pretty heavy from early mornings; but I am pretty sure this has been one of the most impactful weeks of my life, both for myself and the people we are helping. And I am very sure that I have never deserved the icy cold cerveza that sits next to my laptop more than I do right now. If that doesn’t sum up the week, I’m not sure what does.
Guatemala, May 2010.