Location: Friendswood, Texas, United States

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving 2005

I just returned last night from a mission trip with my church to Carbonero, in Tamaulipas, Mexico. We were working with Builders Without Borders Link. My daughter and I had been there before, so I was familiar with the work and environment. We had 20 people from our church there, many are teenagers. Since there were several projects to accomplish, we broke up into four groups. Besides myself, the other adult in my group was Gene - he is a bit rough looking, but both he and his wife are good people. The three teens in our group were Kenzie, Alison, and Brigitte. All three young ladies worked incredibly hard and did really good jobs. For two days we finished the inside of a new elementary school building that another team had built. We installed trimming, desks for a computer lab, varnished the ceiling, walls, shelves, and desks, installed toilets and sinks, and sealed the floor. After two days of inhaling those fumes, we felt fairly intoxicated, so were reassigned to a different project the third day. A different team had built a house for a family whose home had been blown away by hurricane Emily - a level 3 when it hit land last July. The Builders without Borders guys, Kim, Rick, and Doug, had arrived ahead of our group and put in the foundation of the house before we arrived. The other team had already completed the structure, outer walls, roof, wiring, and painted the siding. We finished the interior, installed a toilet, connected the gas for the stove, and built two sets of bunks. The entire home could easily fit into my living room and it is to house six people. I went into what they were living in since the hurricane to get measurements for the gas fittings. It was about the same size (floor space), but had sticks from trees on the corners with pieces of metal sheets, blankets, and black paper patched together for walls and roof/ceiling. The ceiling was so low, I had to remain ducked down to avoid hitting my head. There was no running water and they (as do almost all their neighbors) used an outhouse.

Other groups from our mission built a roof on a house, a foundation for someone else whose home had blown away in the storm, and finished hauling away wreckage from a half-downed home. We had bible studies for all children who wanted to come every afternoon, fed them a snack, and sent them home with rice, beans, or apples. On the day that our group was assigned the bible study, I walked around the town and got lots of children to follow me back - we had over a hundred attend!

I am tired, still dirty (the water that we shower with is cold, intermittent, and brownish), and need to go to the emergency room for a tetanus (I got shot with a nail gun in the finger and don't remember when my last one was).

It was a great trip again.


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