Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Day in the Life...Part 2

The rest of the team that was not working at the hospital compound rode in a van to a village close by to construct a home for a family of AIDS orphans.  I use the term "village" loosely.  What it really felt like was driving down a winding, rough country road, stopping in the middle of a field of corn, and walking through the corn until suddenly there was a cluster of homes--again, "home" is used loosely. The two orphans lost their father already, and their mother is dying of AIDS.  Their grandmother is what we would consider their primary caregiver, and this is where they were living:

As I took pictures of this shack, I realized that I am taller than this "home."  I could see on the top of the roof.  I caught a glimpse of the inside of it, and I don't see how three people could even begin to sleep inside of it because it was so small.  And this is what we saw time and time again, family after family.

We built for them a two-unit home, each unit being 10 feet by 10 feet with a tall ceiling.  We used no power tools at all--simply wood, a few hammers and saws, and nails.  Simple.  Not fancy.  But it worked, and the home was complete in less than four days.  Here's the finished product:


The black is not paint; it's creosote, which is a nasty tar-like substance, but it will keep the home bug-free and termite free for the family.  We were asked to put the date and the names of our churches on the front trim of the house.

No electricity.  No running water.  Cement floor.  No kitchen or bathroom facilities.  In the U.S., the structure would have been a nice-sized tool shed.  To these orphans and their grandmother, it was a mansion--truly "manna from Heaven," as one hospital official called it.

The thankfulness and appreciation of this grandmother when we dedicated her home and gave her the keys was almost indescribable.  In a culture where people are so desperately poor and where there is so much corruption, it is simply unheard of to receive ANYTHING for nothing in return, much less a new home.  She raised her hands in praise to God and sang and danced like you've never seen.  It was very inspiring and very moving. 

To be an instrument of hope to this small family was worth the trip itself.

2 comments:

Jolee Burger said...

I can't begin to describe how moving this is, Karen. So happy you could help families there.

Jamie. M said...

Karen
My daughter and I went on a Mission Trip to the Dominican Republic year before last and it was amazing. I came home blessed more than words can say. I'm sure you were truly a blessing to those you helped.