Assessment Day – A Whole New Meaning to House and Home

On Monday we were divided into three groups to visit the homes of the people we would be helping. Each group had one of the young women Mayan guides and someone who could speak Spanish.  The Mayan guides could interpret Kaqchikel into Spanish but they do not speak English. Kaqchikel is one of over 30 Mayan dialects.  Joan and Butch and our guide Jacqueline were able to interpret the Spanish.  Speaking Spanish is relatively new to the Mayans and the older people do all speak it.

Our Mayan guides took each of our groups on a demanding tour through a maze of streets and alley ways working our way up the steep mountain slope on stone ramps, stone steps or just rocky slopes. In all our Rotary group will be helping 80 families.

Tom and Shelley were in the group going to the very top of town and witnessed the most needy. Their first task was to determine the materials necessary to fix a decrepit home where a family of  seven live under a tin roof  that is too low to stand up in.  Two of the five  children are special needs, a 20-year-old boy who does not talk and a hyperactive 4-year-old.  As you will see in later blogs Tom and Shelley with the help of two local contractors were able to raise the roof three feet and put on new lamina ( a thin corrugated steel ) on the roof.  When Tom and Shelley first visited the home the 4 year who is in a constant state of  “fidgit” was playing with a dead baby chicken pulling its feathers out. When we were finished Daphne captured the look on the little girl’s face when she received a special tactile toy that Colleen brought for just such a child.

Another small tin “house” was home to a widow and her three children, a mentally challenged  14-year-old boy and two younger sisters. The boy who goes for days without sleeping  and bangs on the tin walls all night  is looked after by his younger sister while their widowed mother works. The boy is starting to harm his sister and our group will be building new quarters for the boy to try to keep his sister safe.

At the end of the day all of us had stories of extreme poverty.  In general we witnessed widowed women with several children living in makeshift homes of tin, rock or clay, who sleep on the hard packed dirt floors.  There might be one or two rooms,a wood burning stove and not much else.  Fifty of these places have been assessed as especially needy and will receive one of the beds made by our Rotary Team. ( PS At the time of writing this blog we have already delivered many beds and were on hand to see some very happy children try them out. )

Tomorrow you will see how your generous donations to our team project have helped change lives – theirs and ours

We will show you this house later with new beds.

We will show you this house later with new beds.

Joan has done a marvelous job of translating for our team.

Joan has done a marvelous job of translating for our team.

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Old and new efficient stove. Well will have to connect chimney.

Old and new efficient stove. We will have to connect chimney.

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Shelley and Tom lift roofing to modified home. When we get back ask Shelley about her close call with a flying machete.

Shelley and Tom lift roofing to modified home. When we get back ask Shelley about her close call with a flying machete.

Daphne and Colleen take notes.

Daphne and Colleen take notes.

Does binder twine pass code?

Does binder twine pass code?

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Joan gets a hug and request to have picture. Tomorrow this lady will have a bed.

Joan gets a hug and request to have picture. Tomorrow this lady will have a bed.

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Typical small garden.

Typical small garden.

The higher you go the steeper it gets. Hang on Daphne!

The higher you go the steeper it gets. Hang on Daphne!

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Butch on the inspection run,

Butch on the inspection run,

Two storey fixer upper. Ocean view.

Two storey fixer upper. Ocean view.

The higher up we went the more timid people became.

The higher up we went the more timid people became.

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A little humiliating to be passed by a little man carrying 50 kg sack of corn.

A little humiliating to be passed by a little man carrying 50 kg sack of corn.

Not a house but a HOME

Not a house but a HOME

Colleen is a "softie" for the small children

Colleen is a “softie” for the small children

Art falls behind and loses way again after stopping to take picture.

Art falls behind and loses way again after stopping to take picture.

IMG_9250 

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2 thoughts on “Assessment Day – A Whole New Meaning to House and Home

  1. Kathy

    wow – so much poverty – thank you Art for the updates, they are enlightening as to the task at hand for your group.

  2. es, This Tiny Home Is Very Cool. But There’s Something That Makes It Completely Brilliant.
    February 26, 2014In the News

    The designers at I-Beam Design created the Pallet House Project because they were inspired by one simple, but unbelievable, fact: 84% of the world’s refugees could be housed with a year’s supply of recycled American pallets. Just based off of a year and a half year of pallet production in the US alone, 33 million refugees could live in a Pallet House.

    That’s a lot of housing for a LOT of people in need. What makes their design so brilliant is that virtually anyone can build it very cheaply and in less than one day.

    The Pallet House, by I-Beam Design, was conceived as a transitional shelter for refugees returning to Kosovo.
    The Pallet House, by I-Beam Design, was conceived as a transitional shelter for refugees returning to Kosovo.
    I-Beam Design

    The pallet house is simply and provides great flexibility in terms of configuration. Each family could build a house based on their needs and size.
    The pallet house is simply and provides great flexibility in terms of configuration. Each family could build a house based on their needs and size.
    I-Beam Design

    Since the house is made from spare wooden pallets, it is easy to acquire the materials to build the shelter.
    Since the house is made from spare wooden pallets, it is easy to acquire the materials to build the shelter.
    I-Beam Design

    Not only that, but the house is very simple. Only basic tools are required to build it.
    Not only that, but the house is very simple. Only basic tools are required to build it.
    I-Beam Design

    You could add on to the house with found materials, such as plastic sheeting or tarps.
    You could add on to the house with found materials, such as plastic sheeting or tarps.
    I-Beam Design

    The pallet houses can even be upgraded to include insulation, heating and cooling.
    The pallet houses can even be upgraded to include insulation, heating and cooling.
    I-Beam Design

    I-Beam Design provides “IKEA-style assembly instructions” so that anyone can assemble these houses. You don’t need a background in carpentry.
    I-Beam Design provides “IKEA-style assembly instructions” so that anyone can assemble these houses. You don’t need a background in carpentry.
    I-Beam Design

    For only $75, you can buy a pallet house information kit that includes: pdf plans, sections, elevations, photos, diagrams, renderings and a materials & tools list.
    For only $75, you can buy a pallet house information kit that includes: pdf plans, sections, elevations, photos, diagrams, renderings and a materials & tools list.
    I-Beam Design

    Even though the pallet house was originally designed for refugees, you could use those plans to build yourself a beautiful little camper cabin or shelter.
    Even though the pallet house was originally designed for refugees, you could use those plans to build yourself a beautiful little camper cabin or shelter.
    I-Beam Design

    It’s amazing what can be done with materials America “wastes.”
    It’s amazing what can be done with materials America “wastes.”
    I-Beam Design

    So for less than $100, you can learn how to build a shelter (basically, a house) that is without plumbing but will protect you from the elements. Building a small cabin (or even a treehouse for your children) was never so easy.

    If you’d like to buy the plans yourself, please visit I-Beam Design’s website.

    Source: I-Beam Design

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