New Housing in La Gallina, Nicaragua
Improving the living conditions of Nicaraguan families living in extreme poverty
A week ago tomorrow was our last day in La Galina. I am no longer sore and most of my cuts and bruises are healed. Already, though, I miss the hard work and the feeling of progress at the end of each day. I also miss working side by side with the families for whom this project means so much. I could barely, if at all, communicate with them. However, I could see in their eyes and smiles and nods that they were grateful we were there.
Slowly Habitat is changing their lives. One house...
Today we started working early and were done by lunch time.
There are about 25 rows of bricks in a completed house. We got through row 13-almost the top of the doorway and windows.
We also smoothed out the floor in the 2nd house and painted the outside of the "bathroom" (not quite an outhose, not quite a port-o-potty, they call it a latrine). For an extra touch we bought Habitat green and blue to make it look pretty on the outside. Thankfully I can't describe the inside of...
So here we are on Day 4 of work at La Gallina. The sun has been a blistering hot 100 degrees fahrenheit in the past few days and it is almost unbearable at times to work in. We have a great team here and we are all working like rented mules but at the end of the day, as we are dirty and sweaty on the ride back to our hotel we all feel a strong sense of accomplishment for the days work. I personally am extremely grateful to be given this opportunity of a lifetime to utilize my skills that I...
Tired. Very tired. It was also very rewarding to look back at photos of where we started and where we are today. We even had to add scaffolding in order to reach the top level of bricks today.
We moved over 44 buckets of sand, 12 buckets of stone, 6 50lb bags of cement mix, and 25 buckets of water. This made 2 piles of grout that was used to add 3 rows of bricks and 1 3/4 piles of cement flooring that covered the whole inside floor of the house. After the piles were made (by hand...
These few images from my trip cannot even begin to describe my time here so far. It's 100 degrees F, which makes working all day in the sun and humidity, even harder. I am so fortunate to have a really great team of people surrounding me, working very hard in unusual circumstances to help the families here build new homes. The tools we are using for work are not the tools we use in daily life so I think after day 3 we are all wearing at least one bandage somewhere. We have bruises, blisters...
For those of you who've seen my fundraising appeal, you may have scratched your head at whether it could really cost $25 to make 8 bricks... they must be very expensive bricks in Nicaragua.
I confess... I made that number up. But, I can now share with you the price of a brick, for real.
It starts with a mound of heavy earth with tufts of grass growing from it. In the morning hours a team of five women break apart the earth with pick-axes and shovels. Their husbands work in...
There comes a time in a person's life (at least I hope so) when one wonders about their purpose in life. For me that has happened many times, most recently in December when I decided that I needed a little change. I decided that I would partake in a Habitat for Humanity Global Village adventure...not only to help those who need a helping hand, but also to give myself a break from the daily grind. I couldn't have picked a better time to come to Nicaragua. The group that I am volunteering...
Today we started an hour earlier, breakfast at 6 and working by 7(ish).
We moved countless truck loads of dirt, stone and cement. We added 5 more rows of brick to the wall. It is about chest or chin high now.
Everyone worked really hard today and it seemed to make the day go by more quickly. I am pretty good at doing many things with both hands and/or either hand Unfortunately shoveling is not one of them. I now have 4 rips on my right hand and one on my left.
We opened the day with the confidence and positivity of true veterans, having put in our first full day with eight hours of work the day prior that led us to believe we had this construction thing in the bag. We were soon brought back to reality with the simple task of pushing wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow full of adobe bricks up to the site of the homes.
It is a wonderful thing to be able to test one's own physical abilities, and an even more amazing opportunity when...
Well I beat out Mike, I offically survived 2 days of manual labor. Today we started to lay the bricks. First we had to move the bricks from the "factory" where we made them. We had a truck to take the first load. But after that we carried 4 bricks at a time (32 lbs each) up hill in a wheel barrel. I did this about 10 times. It was literally an up hill, sandy, bumpy route and I thought I might pass out! Today I was reminded of my years as a gymnast as my hands, which were blistered yesterday...
La Gallina is a small community within the Nicaraguan city of San Rafael del Sur. It is a community focused on agriculture, especially sugarcane. Unfortunately, La Gallina’s residents also know the pain of poverty.
View San Rafael del Sur - La Gallina / Masachapa in a larger map
More than 95 percent of the homes in La Gallina have dirt floors, with many walls constructed of rapidly deteriorating materials such as plastic, metal sheets and warping wood. Homes in La Gallina have no plumbing or drinking water, either. People draw water from wells along the roads, and most of the community’s latrines are falling apart.
Families here work hard to improve their living situation, but with a per capita income of around $1 a day, it’s a challenge many families can’t overcome on their own. Habitat Nicaragua is stepping in to offer these families a hand up, replacing their old shelters with brand-new homes.
The goal is to immediately help 50 families here, with the hope of building with 100 more as soon as funding allows.
Habitat will work with partners in the region to create safe, durable houses made of reinforced masonry and adobe-block walls. Volunteers, partner families and neighbors in the community will be directly involved in the construction process—from making the blocks to building the walls, roofs, windows and doors.
How can you help
Please support volunteers who are travelling to Nicaragua to support this project in La Gallina, and pass this opportunity on to your friends and family. It takes only $3,500 to fund an entire house. We hope you’ll contribute toward that cost and allow us to help more families. Thank you for supporting this initiative—and for supporting the volunteers who are fundraising and traveling to Nicaragua to help make it happen.