Sat., June 20, 2015:

Well, we are on the way. There are thirteen people, most from the Alhambra church, traveling in our group. Most of them are first timers. On the flight from St.Louis to Houston I sat next to a couple who was traveling to Quito as well. It was their first trip to Ecuador and asked lots of questions. I was so happy to provide them with some insight into the culture and great tourist spots. 

Not sure when I will be able to post again, but I should arrive in Quito around 11:00 tonight and then after a visit to the daycare center will fly to the coast. 

I know everything will go great tomorrow at the VBS church service. The G-Force Navigators had an adventurous week and definitely showed God's love in action. Though I am sorry that I can't be there, I feel that I am living those action words from the week...God calls us to MOVE, ACT, CARE, FOLLOW, and SHARE... while on this mission. I love you all and thank you to everyone for your love and support. I am truly blessed!



Sun., June 21, 2015:

Today is the first official day of summer and the longest day of the year.  For us in the States, we notice a big difference in daylight hours compared to winter because it is still pretty light out at 9 pm.  Here in Ecuador, it is actually their shortest day at 12 hours and 6 min.  This is compared to their longest day, December 21, with 12 hours and 8 min.  That's the beauty of living on the equator... consistency.

We woke this morning and traveled by van to Romirillos to visit the Lisa's Angles Daycare Center.  There has been a lot of construction and remodeling done since I was there last year.









The second story is complete and the lower level has been remodeled.  There is so much more room for the children.

Once back in Quito, we headed back to the airport to fly to the coast. It was a be
autiful flight.  We flew over the Andes and I got my first look at the Pacific Ocean today.  We flew into Manta which is right on the ocean  we had to fly over the water to circle back to the airport and land.  I really think I saw dolphins in the water, but the others don't think so.

We then drove to Tosagua where we had dinner with the Maestros and the families.  We are building two houses this week.  After dinner we played a few rounds of UNO before turning in.
We have a good group of people with us.  Some old friends and some new... It will be a great week.


Mon., June 22, 2015:

I woke up this morning and checked my weather app, just to see how hot it was going to be.  I was pleasantly surprised to find out that it was only going to be 83 degrees, but... 97% humidity... and it wasn't supposed to rain.  I didn't even think that was possible, but it is in Tosagua.  :)  

We began our day at the site with a devotional lead by a local pastor.  He started with this verse, Psalm 127:1 - Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.   It was a great start... and reminder that we are building these homes for and with the Lord.  

So  when we got to the job site we discovered that both houses are duplexes. The first house pictured below was ready for blocks.  Half the team put up the walls.  This was a good first day experience for them, because they were able to see their efforts. The other half of the team, me included, tied rebar for the foundation of the second duplex.  

Katie and me at the end of day 1. We stayed very clean.

We had lots of games going on tonight...SkipBo, Bananagrams, and Apples to Apples.  We had a very nice night.














Tue., June 23, 2015:

Today we worked very hard. The Ecuadorian workers continued to work on the first duplex, while we shoveled LOTS of rock and dirt into the foundation of the second duplex. The first part of the day was overcast which made the working environment very nice, but after lunch it got real hot real fast. We had to start taking lots of frequent breaks. During one of my breaks I went for a walk around the block and came across some beautiful flowers.


 


 
 








Here is the status of the second duplex at the end of day 2.  It doesn't look like much, but I promise we worked very hard on this foundation. 

Here is a picture of me working.  Someone took my phone so you all could see me actually doing something.  :)

Once we returned to the hotel and showered, we walked down the street to the cabinas, phones, so others could make calls back home.  This was a great experience, because we are in a busy town and there is lots of hustle and bustle... street vendors, shops, people just sitting in front of stores.  


Wed., June 24, 2015 and Thu., June 25, 2015:

Over the last two days we continued to work on the foundation of the second house.  Lots of rebar tying and LOTS of rock shoveling.  We did do some concrete work as well, but most of that will be done on Friday. There have been many kids from the neighborhood around the job site.  They come and go through out the day.  Some go to school in the morning (7am-1pm) and others in the afternoon/evening (1pm -7pm).

                      The job site                                           Karaoke Night (sorry, no pics of me!)

Wednesday night we walked down the street to a Karaoke club.  They opened just for us so we had the place to ourselves.  This was nice because it gave many of us a great deal of courage to sing.  I sang quiet a bit, but I feel that my Bon Jovi was my best performance. We had a blast and many of us didn't have much of a voice the next morning. 

 
 







We left the site at noon on Thursday and drove an hour to the Pacific Ocean.  The landscape along the way was beautiful...Rolling hills planted with corn.  The beach was nice, but very different than the Florida beaches that I have been to.  We spent a great deal of time in the water searching for sand dollars.  We found over 30... well I use the term we a bit loosely.  I found three and Becca found the rest.  The ones in the picture above were the only two we found with the spots.  They are very pretty.


Fri., June 26, 2015:

The last day of the build is always bitter sweet. It is the end of a very hard week of work, but it also means that goodbyes are coming. We had a great last day. 

Maria’s, one of the home owners, son and his pre-school class visited the site in the morning. They brought a birthday cake for Carol, one of the members of our team, and sang “Feliz Cumpleaños” to her. 

They also sang us a few other songs. We then taught them the Hokie Pokie and played futbol with them. Some of the eager little ones got put to work on the dirt pile.  :) We all had a blast with them!

Once they left we continued mixing and wheel barrowing concrete for the foundation of the house.

This locust tree served as a very special part of our week and for the community. Not only did in provide much needed shade, but it also is a reminder of how far this community has come. This community is built of Habitat homes. Years ago when Habitat bought the land there was nothing but unused land with two locust trees. One tree had to be cut down, but this one still stands. The homes are built around the lot that you see in the picture. While I was in Tosagua I saw plans to transform this dusty space into a community park not unlike the park in our community. It will have a pavilion for events, a playground for the children, basketball court, and of course a soccer field. The tree will stay and continue to serve as a symbol of unity for this community.

 


We ended the evening with a celebratory dinner with the families and maestros. House warming gifts were presented to the families from the team. The team was then presented with certificates of participation and appreciation. Goodbyes were said and we packed for our early morning flight back to Quito.