Belize Construction crew 2012

“No a Mi Casa, Tu Casa”

Those few words spoken in Spanish by Andy Hoskins of the 2012 Belize mission trip construction crew were sufficient to elicit a tearful “meltdown” by the widowed mother, Aracil Tun.    The construction of a concrete house measuring 20’ X 24’ was nearly complete.  After messaging horizontal slat opening windows and spectacularly beautiful Belizean mahogany wooden doors into their openings, one of the last tasks for the crew was to paint the interior walls. But what color?  It was the “madre’s” choice, not the crew’s…

The crew arrived at the construction site for the first time on Friday, February 3, 2012.  We grabbed an assortment of tools from our local contact that takes care of the local poor, Rafael Cob.  None of the construction crew, consisting of Isaac Gilmer, Andy Hoskins, Nick Nelson, Scott Senter, and Brian Stuart (with additional assistance from Matt Bruner and Howard Storm) had any knowledge of the house or what tools we would need to complete the house.  As it turned out, with our collective experience and educated guesses we chose an appropriate assortment of hand and power tools to get the work done.  We had a wonderful local contractor too, Rosendo.

We arrived to find a concrete house with concrete roof ready for doors, windows, assorted hardware and an additional wood framed wall to be installed.  The crew spent the next three days messaging windows and doors into their openings.  Unlike the standard door/window sizes used in today’s American homes, the crew “rediscovered” the craftsmanship of old-time carpenters in measuring, cutting (and chiseling/planning when required!) to fit the doors and windows to their openings.  We learned from our mistakes and mis-steps, and in the end, installed seven windows, four doors and one wall.

The construction crew received substantial assistance by the many family members who provided the daily wonderful chicken/rice/bean/tortilla lunches and assistance in sanding/ painting the doors and windows.   For the young girls and boys, simple items like sandpaper, paint brushes, screwdrivers let alone power tools like palm sanders and drills were foreign, not to mention intimidating yet intriguing.  It didn’t take long though for the family to dive wholeheartedly into helping the “gringos” who were finishing the family’s house.

Mom’s color of choice?  A subtle yet soothing pink, for an “overwhelming” moment.  That was the moment when the family’s prayers were answered.  The house was started by the father who died unexpectedly just a short time ago.  The crew was “overwhelmed” as well, by the needs of the very large family for a larger “hurricane proof” home to supplement the family’s simple stick and palm leaf roof hut.

For the dedication of the new home, Belize mission trip members gathered in song and prayer to bless the family and the new home.  When all the praises were said and done, everyone was overwhelmed by the acts of humble servitude by those who contributed to the completion of the home.  May the new “casa” provide many years of comfort for the Tun family.