Toughness is in the soul and spirit, not in muscles. — Alex Karras
Jama Ecuador – Taking a timeout from the earthquake-recovery zone. I watched my friends harvest a shrimp pond about a kilometer from town. It seemed surreal to be surrounded by stunning landscapes under the influence of a pristine sunny morning while the nearby town provided little aesthetic beauty.
After harvest, my friends and I enjoyed a hearty brunch, said our “Goodbyes,” and I stopped to check the progress on the ‘kit’ house.
We went up the ladder and into the house. My creative mind was in overdrive!
The next day my friend Nieve and I returned to see the finished house.
Nieve paused before leaving and gazed from the balcony…
What I’ve learned: The recipients applied for help through a christian organization which I have yet to locate. One person said, “The Sisters.” Another said “The Catholic Church.” The people in the Catholic Relief Fund office said that they provide help, but someone else deserved credit for this project.
The kits are made in Guayaquil and are shipped to various people who formally applied. One requirement is that they have to own the lot/land where the house is built. About two months after putting their name on the list, this family received the house. The entire house cost them nothing, including a maestro who knew where every block of wood and every nail should be placed.
“The handrail?” I asked.
It came with the house.
It was provided….
Yes the nails – even the steps came with the house.
All they had to pay for was the transport from the lot to their building site. Fifteen dollars. The basic house does not include plumbing or electricity, but it certainly trumps living in a tent! Little by little the new owners can make improvements – a sink at ground level, an indoor bathroom, a kitchen.
Nieve and I visited on a sunny afternoon, and the house was cool. A concrete home is stifling under the same condistions. My creative mind was bouncing with ideas.
Many people use split bamboo as a base to apply the cement finishing ‘skin’ to the walls… The concrete-finished wall could be painted, the handrail another color, the windows another, the steps… window boxes, hammocks beneath…. My mind’s eye designed a little ‘circle’ community of those houses with an oasis of flowers in the middle, sitting areas and shade trees.
After all they’ve endured, the earthquake veterans are all worthy of aesthetic comforts. It is my wish that little by little they’ll get there.
The next post will introduce you to some of those veterans.