Thursday June 16th, 2011

Thursday June  16th, 2011

Woke up at 8:30 and packed up the usual bag for a full workday: sunscreen (I told you I was wearing it momJ), camera, a cliff bar, and of course- my hat. Joe and I headed down to get some quick breakfast with everyone before we left for the worksite. I had 8 pieces of bread; some with butter and plum jelly others with honey, and with a bowl of cereal. We walked to the worksite at 9:00 at began promptly right were we left off the day before. Most of us guys started working on a ditch around the side and back of the house for a short wall being put up. When told we were going to dig a 2ft by 1ft ditch I thought “ no problem”, I have done plenty of digging before and thought with about 5 guys working on it would be done in no time… boy was I wrong! We were receiving instruction from several different people but here is what really happened: 4 guys plus myself were asked to dig a 2 foot wide by 1 foot deep that was 30 feet in length on one side of the house and about 100 feet on the other side of the house… with pick axes!! The shovels that were available were so thin that we actually bent the tips back when we tried to dig in the dirt; these “shovels” became scooping devices and the pick axes were used to loosen up the ground and create piles for the scoopers to come in and remove the dirt. After about 2 hours, we were told it did not have to be the 2×1 ft measurements, but instead a shovelhead wide and a hovel head deep, although this was great news it dramatically changed our approach to the ditch. We finished the ditch after 3 hours before we were divided up and given new jobs. Straightening thin rebar previously used in roofing then using a unique rebar bending tool was used to give the rebar a, 11-inch square shape. The new squares were then used as a collar around thicker rebar, which was placed within the new cement columns to strengthen the integrity of the structure.

Through out the day we unloaded 2 truckloads of bricks, about 12 palates, which equals approximately 800 bricks… we were putting in WORK!! It was pretty cool how we all worked together using the Beaver Supply Line to get the bricks were they needed to go. Of course there was the cement being mixed and transported within the supply lie, and after all the bricks and cement was moved successfully, everyone from the trucks to the roof let a big sigh and let their noodle like arms fall to their side and finally relax.

Before lunch Roberto came up with idea that we should create a basketball hoop so the kids could shoot and practice at home. Through out the day Roberto and Taylor were discussing possibilities and creating designs, and I must say- it is going to be way cool! It is something all the kids in the neighborhood kids can use and enjoy- great idea Berto! Sometime in the afternoon probably about 3:00 or 4:00, we all started to play with the kids, soccer, volleyball, and a basketball were all being used to volley, juggle, and play monkey in the middle. There are a few kids in the neighborhood with mopeds and were giving rides to those of us brave enough to jump on the back and trust our lives to these young boys. After an hour of games and riding around the house, we all walked over the basketball hoop near the school to play some hoops. Once there we shot around and played a little Knock Out with each other and the kids while others just enjoyed the evening and watched. Once Matt got there with the camera equipment Berto attempted a trick shot using a nearby building and the hoop… There will be a video coming out soon that you can see and I do not want to ruin anything so until then I’ll say this “ Duh don don- duh don don” (Sports Center theme)…

Following the hoop fest we got cleaned at the hotel and took a walk into town for dinner. We walked down the same route as last time, and this time we made a special stop to see The Beast. About halfway into town there is a nicer house on the left side of the road with a couple dogs caged up… did I say dogs..?… I meant four legged animals that resemble dogs but are bigger and more vicious looking then any dog I have ever seen in my life! I have a few pictures (hopefully will be up soon), and this dog is similar to the dog from the movie The Sandlot; an enormous animal that injects fear into any of those who dare to come close. As we all walked past and continued to look over our backs for a few blocks we entered the town and walked to Zhamara.

Just outside the restaurant was a basketball hoop with pavement where a few kids were playing. Joe, Roberto, Garret, Dominic and myself stopped for a second to shoot a few hoops and attempt a few dunks- made more interesting as the hoop appeared to be a few inches over the standard 10 feet. I have a short video of our time there and will post that when I can. Zhamara was a unique restaurant, it had a roof and a few walls but also was open to the air around which allowed for a smooth summer breeze to keep us cool during dinner. We had the basic Macedonian family style meal of vegetables and salad, followed by a toasted cheese and bread then a grilled meat plate. However, a few of us guys ordered an American dish that was the hot topic of conversation during the day: a good ol’ American Hamburger. After one of our team leaders from Habitat for Humanity, Milan, translated to our waiter we anxiously awaited our burgers. What came next was a sight from heaven! A huge burger within buns the size of a loaf of bread… oh man we were going to be soooo full after this! The burgers were literally the size of our faces and tasted amazing. And yes I have evidence of these real Macedonian Burgers, and I still can’t believe that we ate the whole thing! The other dishes everyone else was enjoying were also very good. One thing consistent at all Macedonian restaurants is that they sure know how to cook chicken. The chicken at every restaurant has been cooked simply on a grill with seasoning, but it is incredibly juicy and tasty, from here on out when I am presented with a menu I am going with the chicken. The meat plate consisted of chicken, cheese stuffed pork roles, and some beef/pork mixed items. We all left there feeling full and happy.

Once we returned to the hotel, we all just hung out and enjoyed getting to know each other more and building the relationships within this special group of people. Every day we grow closer and become a more tightly knit cohort. I heard from those who went on the Guatamala trip that we could become close and great friends, and even though I believed them I did not expect to feel so comfortable and close after a few days. I just want to say I am really glad I was able to come on this trip and want to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who helped me get here. This will forever be one of the most memorable and meaningful trips of my life, and I know my peers on this trip with me feel the same, so to everyone out there who helped us get here in one way or another- thank you for supporting us and allowing us to change our lives and improve the lives of others.


#NP Watermelon Sunday- Dom Kennedy