Day #6

Three bulbs and a small Fridge!

This evening we visited several families to interview them for the new houses.  Part of the question concern both their income and their expenses.  The common response for the electric bill was 1300 pesos – about $35.  I know that my dad would be thrilled with a $35 electric bill per month….but you have to understand that most of these ‘homes’ have only a few light bulbs and a small fridge.   The average income of the families we are talking with is about $250 per month.  Rent for their small places they currently live in is about $125.  All this leaves about $90 per month for food and every other expense….for a family of five or six or more…$35 gets you three light bulbs and a small fridge.  Perspective!

The mission team had several moments of perspective today.  It was a full day with both groups totaling 55 hard at work.

We began the day with a Community Mass with the Bishop followed by a community lunch.  It’s amazing that we can figure out how to feed 500 people lunch in the DR, but we have…thanks be to God. (Visit our Facebook page to see a video from the Community Mass as well as new team photos.)

After lunch, the team went hard at it working to finish painting the exterior of the five new homes while many of the locals were raising the walls on three more houses.  Concurrently, we were working to install the sewer and water lines to the homes under construction while the team was moving good dirt around the new homes… all this while the grader guy showed up to cut in some drainage swails and build the outfield of the baseball diamond we have under development.  At the same time, we had a crew rebuilding the playground in the first community and placing it closer to the school.  Needless to say, lots of activity…lots of moving parts….every one safe…lots of good things happening…..electric!!!

The high point of the day came around 3 pm when we moved Carlito’s family in to their new home.  “En el nombre de Dios, bienvenidos.”  — In the name of God, welcome!  There was thunderous applause….tears of joy…..embraces and heartfelt welcomes. (Watch the moving videos!)

It was good for the team to see that a family of five could move to their new home in under 20 minutes using three small pick up trucks.  It was good for the team to seethat the mattresses they sleep on are filled with holes….and saturated with moisture.  It was good for them to see how creatively they could pack using barrels and tubs.  It was good for the team to see how happy they were to receive this great gift from God – 440 sq ft for a family of five.  In the name of God….welcome!!!

On Sunday we will welcome three more families into the community.  They are very excited and happy to be part of this community.  We are working hard to select families who exhibit great potential to be strong in their faith, live good values, embrace education, and desire to share in a joyful neighborhood.  Our goal is to create a community that is so strong that all the members are thriving, making great choices, and breaking the cycle of poverty.    We are really making great progress to create a model community that has a real sense of synergy, goodness and God’s grace.

The hardest part of the selection process is that every family we meet has great need.  They are all paying $35 for their electric bill.  They all have great needs.   Our challenge is to move beyond the needs and figure out who best can contribute and participate in the life of the community.

At the end of the night, the team is doing well.  They were energized today when they had the conscious realization of the good they are doing.  Part of our team was in some of the homes painting the unpainted interior walls.  They also have a great moment of perspective to stand immersed in the very simple life and belongings of the families we are helping.  They were also so aware of the good being done and how much we are helping those most in need.

Three light bulbs and a small fridge.  Today, the light was incredibly bright in Higuey…. thanks to our team and your blessed prayers and support.