El Salvador Trip – Hard Work on Day 1

A note via email from Village Green Founder and President, Ken Hyatt. who is in El Salvador helping Arapaho United Methodist Church (in conjunction with Habitat for Humanity) build a home.

Yesterday was the hardest physical work I’ve done in a long time.  Our Mission Trip team dug the foundation of the home – probably 30′ by 20, about 2′ down, using picks, shovels and hoes, hauling the dirt using wheel barrows about 50′ away to a mound that became so tall they had to lay down wooden ramps to get to the top.  

We got about two thirds of the trenches dug yesterday.  It was exhausting work but what made it fun was when we took breaks, we could play with the village children.  

IMG_5296-1There were four at our site ranging from about 9 to 13 months.  They were coloring pictures with crayons and later, made cutouts to create puppets from paper lunch bags.  After lunch Shelby (Ken’s daughter) spent a couple of hours playing with them and their mother would laugh and laugh at Shelby’s Spanish.  The children had shy smiles that were beautiful.  

Toward the end of the day the oldest asked me if we were coming back tomorrow and was delighted to hear we were.  Right before we left one of them asked Shelby to play ball with them and, of course she did.  The struck up a tiny game of baseball using a 6″ inflatable ball.  I’m not sure who had more fun, the kids, Shelby or the adults who gathered to watch.  

IMG_5278Debbie (Ken’s wife) worked at another site which was supposed to be easier but really wasn’t.  They ended up moving a big mound of dirt left over from construction of another home to another, out of the way, area.  She talked about an 8 year old neighborhood boy who stopped by after school and began helping them.  He worked rings around all of them, even complaining when Debbie tried to give him a lighter load of dirt to carry.  

We went back to the hotel exhausted, Shelby and Debbie jumped in a very cold hotel pool, went to eat, played a few rounds of Apples to Apples and went to bed and I imagine we all got the best night of sleep so far.