Kevin McShane — "Watch your thoughts, they become words"

Wednesday June 15th, 2011

Wednesday June 15th, 2011

We woke up at 8:00 to enjoy a classic  Macedonian breakfast consisting of cereal, ham, turkey, bread, honey, butter and jam. We walked to the work site, everyone was excited for our first full work day as a whole team; the whole cohort working together finally. The first full work day I expected to leave dead tired barely able to make it back to the hotel without taking a nap! We started by removing the nails from wood that was previously supporting up the roof. Over here the re-use as many supplies as they can, doing this is more efficient and cost effective. There was a few people with regular hammers and myself and a few others had a unique tool that was a combination of a pick and a nail remover. At first it was hard to use, but after a few failures and a few successful pulls, we got the hang of it and were able to get the nails out. But wow.. what a challenging task! Next we had our first experience with the infamous red Macedonian bricks. Although we didnt know it at the time, we would become very familiar with these Bricks. The large white trucks would roll up to the work site with anywhere from 3 to 6 palates of these large clay bricks. First step was to determine where they would be place; on the ground or up on the 2nd floor we were building. The bricks are used for the exterior and interior walls of the house. Regardless of the destination of the bricks, our whole cohort would form a human supply line consisting of a variety of tosses and hand offs from 1 ft to 15 feet. Once we found our groove we were no doubt the best human supply line Macedonia and the Balkans have ever SEEN!! Of course the bricks needed something to keep them secure and bonded together, so as the bricks moved, we would mix and transport cement at intravenous intervals up the supply line. There are about 5 locals who are doing all the masonry work, so we bring them the supplies and let them do the work. It is a daily obstacle to match our “can do” attitude and the locals “it’ll get done”. We are all want to work fast and hard and get the work done so we can complete the tasks at hand and also get to those optional tasks, were as the locals seem to get done what they can when they can, knowing that everything will get done in due time. Hopefully we can find a rhythm over the next few days to make the brick and cement projects smoother.

We had lunch around 12:30, which was much needed and we were told it was pizza, which added to the excitement to a familiar food. However…. when the pizza arrived, it looked like a pizza but the toppings and taste were something new for everyone.  As Howie Croom stated this pizza was ” different”, and we all agreed! It had a basic crust, the sauce was red and had tomato seeds in it but tasted unlike any other pizza sauce we had before. The cheese was a faint yellow and had a very chewy texture, and to top it off there were sliced yellow mushrooms and some seasons.  We all enjoyed the food, and although our taste buds were not used to these specific tastes, it was a microcosm of what I expect our whole trip be like here; there will be some familiarities from home and also some new things that will push us out of our comfort zones. This is one aspect of the Beavers Without Borders program that is so unique, we become fully immersed in another culture outside of what anyone could expect and even though it can be a challenge sometime, every challenge is an opportunity and well worth it.

During the last half of the day, we finished the nails and wood project as well as the bricks. We also had time to spend with the kids of the neighborhood; Stefan, Alec, Dennis, Milana, and Maria. We played some tag, soccer and played with a basketball. Being the basketball trick guru that he is, Joe was probably the boy’s favorite as he performed tricks they had never even thought of before.

After getting cleaned up and about an hour of relaxation, we all walked into town for dinner. It was about a 30-minute walk to the traditional restaurant Baba Cana “Grandma Cana”. We had a three-course meal; the first of which was appetizers grilled seasoned zucchini, fresh tomatoes, and a grape lead filled with rice and beef. I tried all 4 items and enjoyed each one equally; this was followed by a plate of grilled white cheese. I was a little skeptical of the cheese at first, I had never eaten grilled cheese before, and the thought of doing so with nothing else was a new concept, but it was really good and I thoroughly enjoyed polishing of the plate in front of me.  The third and final course consisted of three bowls each with a different food within. The first was a pork and veggie like stew, the next was a beef n pork meatball with mushroom dish known to the locals as “ village meat”. The third dish was called Tavche Gravche, the best way to describe it was baked pinto beans, and they were not that bad!  We finished our traditional Macedonian meal with ice cream and baklava, the ice cream was good but the baklava was something new for me and also a desert I am looking forward to having again soon!

Once back to the hotel attempted to update the blog with photos and a blog update, but due to slow Internet and an abundance of photos, I was unsuccessful but I remain optimistic and will complete my updating over the weekend.

Thanks for being patient with the updates, the photos are becoming quite a daunting task due the number of photos and the restrictions on my website and possible mediums. They will be up as soon as possible!

Feel free to email me with any questions, comments or anything!

[email protected]

-Kevin

#NP  Cat Daddy- the Rej3ctz

9:30 pm June 16th, 2011

I wish I could update everyone on the last two days but the internet has been super slow the last couple days and it takes forever to upload a picture or a blog message… please be patient as I attempt to outsmart the technology over here in Macedonia:) haha I hope to be fully updated within the next couple days. I am working on the pictures now, So far I have 1,221 to go through and edit, and each day I add at least 150 new pictures. Thanks again for being patient, I promise it is worth the wait!

Talk to you soon

– Kevin

#NP Lucky Man- Montgomery Gentry