HOMES OF PLASTIC

I am learning more every day that we need a whole lot less than we think we need. I’m also humbled by the overabundance of what we actually have. We met many wonderful people this past week as we worked in the little mountain town of Waslala.

 

a new dress and a new home, replacing homes of plastic
The church from Louisiana sent dresses for the little girls.  This girl hugged me the first day and followed me around to a couple of the homes in this area. On the third day she proudly showed me her new dress.

Replacing Homes of Plastic

I’ll never forget the tiny four foot grandma who stood dwarfed beside Trinity with her arms waving, speaking so excitedly that we could only catch a few words. Her communication however was clear that she was very happy almost to tears. She and her extended family of 8 had been living in a drafty shack with plastic bags for siding. We were blessed to be able to join a team who built her a home this week.

 

Bonnie with a new home owner
The beautiful grandma now owns a new home.

 

We met Joseph this past December.  He had moved his family to Nicaragua two years ago to become a missionary.  He told us about a small team coming from Louisiana who planned to build 8 homes in Waslala in a week. Joseph invited us to join. I have been excited and looking forward to this week since then.

 

the team in the back of a truck
Part of the team in the back of a pickup headed to the worksite.  Joseph the missionary is in the center.   Lyle on the right in the front I fell in love with the first day when he pulled out a bag of dog bones for the strays.  I’ve also fallen in love with a few stray dogs here.

 

The group flew into Managua Saturday afternoon and picked us up in Matagalpa.  From there it was a long five hour ride to Waslala, the last hour and a half having been on a dusty, rutted road that twisted through the mountains.  We checked into the hotel and set our alarms for bright and early the next morning.

 

small bridge to the former homes of plastic
The truck could not always make it to the home site.  For this home we carried all of the construction material and tools across this little bridge and up a little hill to the home site.

The Building Process

In the morning we all headed over to the basketball court where the purlins, C bars and metal sheets would be cut for the 8 homes. The team from Louisiana was hardworking but was also a riot to hang out with.  Many of them have done this trip multiple times already and they knew the building process.

 

installing insulation on the metal homes that will replace homes of plastic
Trin installing insulation

 

Soon the posts were ready and the group was split into three teams.  One team plotted the build site, dug out the holes for the post, and erected the posts.  The second team then frames the roof and installs the front/back sidings and roof.  The third team finishes up with the sides and the door.

 

little pig in the grass by their homes of plastic
A neighbor to one of the homes we built

 

We were on the second team and we soon got into a groove and we kept trying to outdo our own time for each house. I got to use a nibbler. This was my first experience with metal construction so it was a lot of fun to use a new tool and learn a bit about metal construction.

 

replacing homes of plastic with metal
Safety team cover your eyes.  We make do with what we have.

A Warm Welcome

On the second evening, Sunday night, we attended service at the church that we were working with.  When we arrived, they had a welcoming procession for us.  They formed two lines flanking the aisle of the church and as soon as we entered they broke into applause.  It was unexpected and I was touched, and humbled that God allowed us to do His work.

They began playing the Nicaraguan national anthem. I was taken off guard when they followed it with our national anthem. I was greatly touched and teared up with my hand over my heart.

 

wash room for homes of plastic
A washroom for clothes

The Duck Hunters

Other evenings I would stay up and listen to the duck hunting stories of a few of the men who have been friends seemingly forever. They were a riot and fun to hang out with

 

coke in a plastic bag
The team got a huge kick out of the bags of coke.

 

In Need of a Home

The lots we were building on were very small.  Some of them barely gave us enough room to squeeze around them or get leverage to drill in the screws of the siding. But the new homes would keep the families dry and secure. We also added insulation along with a whirlybird on top to help keep the heat down inside the home.

 

a new home to replace homes of plastic
Holding the keys to her new home

 

While my definition of “need” gets smaller all the time there is a level of “want” that I maintain above my needs. I don’t want to live in plastic sheeting house or in the hostel we once checked out that had mold coating the sheets. Thankfully by the grace of God I don’t have to live with only the most basic needs. I count my blessings every day.

11 thoughts on “HOMES OF PLASTIC

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  1. This would be a very humbling experience. Seeing how people outside of the United States live makes us appreciate what we have and as you stated, we have “too” much. There is a lot that we could do without.

  2. As one of the team that was able to work with you last week- it was a pleasure to get to know both of you as we completed our tasks. It always amazes me how happy the people of Waslala are and yet by our (USA) standards they have very little. We have so much yet we are always stressed, in a hurry, frustrated and lets face it we are not as happy as we should be. God blesses us all, we should all enjoy what God has given us. A week long trip to a little town in Nicaragua does put your life in perception. The key is to not let that perception fade when you leave and go back to your reality. These trips always bless me- getting the chance to meet both of you was an additional blessing. In a lot of ways I envy you as you partake in this journey- have fun, be safe and I hope we meet again someday.

    1. You were a great leader for our team. I am by nature goal and task oriented so working with you fulfilled that bit of me. I also appreciate how you saw past the goals and really looked after the team and people first

  3. Thanks for sharing your story! I have had the privilege of going on 2 of these mission trips to Nicaragua & 2 to Guatemala & it’s true what people say…you go to bless other people but end up being blessed beyond measure yourself! Lyle, whom you spoke of, is a precious man in my home church…who loves his four legged friends…almost as much as he loves the precious people of these two countries!! Thanks again…loved learning about your experience!

  4. 43bluedoors,

    We miss you, but you inspire us. What great work you are doing. The Stout Small group has been expanding and still praying for you two.

    Please let us know how we can help with your nomadic mission – loving people where they are and changing the world.

    Stout Small Group

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