What can top concrete? Machetes.

Jennifer and me holding the machetes after a day’s work!

Thursday (for those of you keeping track) we worked with children in the morning and machetes in the afternoon.  First, let me tell you a bit about machetes.

I grew up in a suburban neighborhood in Maryland, just outside of Washington, D.C: one would think that machetes would be few and far between, and yet, we were familiar with them. Ask any of my family members.  There was a day when we say one man chase another out of his home, and then down the street, waving a machete at the first man, screaming “I’m going to kill you.”   No big deal, right?

That was my machete-exposure.  All I knew was that scene, and that machetes looked cool and tough.  Right? Check back tomorrow to read about my actual machete experience while on the trip.

The area where we had worked on the roof was a walled-in complex: the partially completed building would be a classroom, and then the rest of the area would be a play area.  Only difficulty–it was covered with weeds, grass, bricks, trash, and other sundries.  The tasks for cleaning it were divided into several groups of the teenagers–some were to clear grass, some were to transport trash to the back corner (where the supervisor had started a fire), some were to move sand from Paso a Paso to our location. Continue reading

Concrete, part dos.

Some pictures to whet your appetite:

The ladder being “fixed”

The whole process, from start to finish.

The process of moving the cement merits detailed exposition.  The workers (and John) shoveled the cement into buckets that we had lined up (about 8 of them); these were the same buckets Ana and I had used to hurl water.  I picked up a bucket, turned, handed it to Jen, who passed along to Ana, to the next and then the next, then, up the ladder, person by person (3 on the ladder), to the roof, where two caught buckets, passed back to another 2 who dumped into wheelbarrow, then another tossed the bucket down to a catcher we had on the ground who would then run the bucket over to the cement and place it down for the men.  Repeat. Continue reading