Hello everybody. ¿Cómo estás?
Over the past week we got the pleasure of working with an organization in Panajachel, on Lake Atitlan, called “Solomon’s Porch.” Our work week lasted from Monday to Thursday. Each morning we would break into work teams and drive up the surrounding mountains to either the village of Concepcion or of Chuaxic.
We tried to make ourselves as useful as possible in each location, working across three construction projects throughout the week. Two of the projects were houses, where one of the primary tasks we had was carrying cinder blocks from the road, where they had been delivered, down the uneven path to the houses where they would be used in the coming days to build walls. We also got the opportunity to learn how to mix cement the Guatemalan way and pour it in the houses for floors. The families who are receiving these houses have been identified as families in need by their communities, who pass this information on to Solomon’s Porch so that they can do an assessment before deciding to begin construction. It was great meeting the family at one of the houses. The father in that house was helping with the construction.
We were also working on a community centre in the village of Chuaxic. This is where approximately half of the funds that we raised (thanks!) went. It was our task to break ground and level it out so that the foundation can be laid. We also tied rebar for a good chunk of the week. Those will be used in the community centre as well.
I should mention, there were also many opportunities to play with local kids around our work sites. The community centre is directly across the street from the local elementary school. So during phys-ed, break or after classes finished for the day we were flooded with a wave of kids. This gave us the opportunity to do some skipping, work alongside a few kids or even race a class up the hill and back (as Dillon did). Having the kids around was a great reminder to dwell, wherever we find ourselves. Ultimately, the most important part of our work was the people; connecting with them as brothers and sisters.
When our work week was over we all went ziplining at Atitlan Nature Reserve, just outside Pana. This gave us an amazing view of the lake as we zoomed along, high above the cascading river below. We also had the chance to visit Casa del Mundo, a beautiful hotel on the shores of the lake, just a short boat ride from Pana. Here we had the chance to kayak, swim and generally just relax after more physically taxing week than we are used to.