by James Miller '05
Days One through Three
In the late morning of Sunday March 12, 2006, I finished packing my bags to head to the Houston airport to fly to San Pedro Sula, Honduras to met Watson Mulkey, Justin Norbo, Blaine Miller, McKennon Shea '05, Dean Wes Lawson, and Dean Meade Whitaker.
Upon arriving in Honduras, we traveled to the shores of Lake Yojoa without problem. Monday morning came early and greeted us with a breakfast of fresh watermelon, baleadas, sausages, and other Honduran delights.
After meeting the men we would work along side, we were set to the task of preparing the foundation of the patio which will surround the clinic. This meant digging, removing, leveling, and tamping the thick clay. Wes, McKennon, and I were amazed at how much work had been done since the our last trips in March 2005 and January 2006. Interior and exterior support columns had been poured, as well as footers for each.
The work was slow in preparing the foundation of the patio. It seemed as if we worked the same areas three and four times. But the savvy tractor driving of McKennon, Wes, and our guide Israel Gonzales sped our work along.
The next day we would continue to prepare the foundation of the patio. Before heading to lunch that day, we stopped by Floripe Gonzales's (Israel's wife) clinic to drop off medical supplies donated by the Prince Edward Volunteer Rescue Squad and the HSC Health Center. Yesterday, several small children stopped by after school on their way home. We handed out educational packets containing composition notebooks, pencils, markers, and crayons. However, we didn't have enough for each of them. We promised to bring back more the next afternoon. The next day, the children showed up on cue. They waited for almost an hour for us to finish working before entering the work site and alerting us to their presence. They did not return alone. The kids brought all of their friends from neighboring houses to get school supplies as well. We handed out school supplies for each of them. At one point, one of the older boys asked me if we had a pair of shoes for his little sister. Unfortunately, we didn't have any to give, but it reminds us of the basic needs we can help these children with. No child left our presence without a smile. Next time we will try to bring them shoes.
For dinner we headed to Siguatepeque for some delicious pizza made by a small Italian family living in Honduras. We encountered a habitat group from UNC-Chapel Hill whom were building houses in the area.
Wednesday morning, we arrived at the work site and immediately began mixing mezcla (concrete, sand, and lime) to pour the back patio. Along side the Honduran workers (Luis, Erasmo, Geronimo, Tito, and Gravil), we quickly poured a good portion of the patio. After work today we headed up the mountain to see a waterfall on the far side of Lake Yojoa. The view was spectacular, but the ride home included fresh pineapple from a roadside stand. It was so good we brought back an extra six for the rest of the week. The rest of the week promises more construction, more laughter, and more incredible memories of friends new and old.