One of the main projects we came to Guatemala to do is making beds for people who were sleeping on the dirt floors. A huge thank you goes to Graham Calder from Nanaimo who proceeded us and created the design and templates for us to accomplish our goal. Graham found a ex Canadian who lives in San Antonio Palopo with a complete wood working shop. Thomas was most gracious in letting us use his shop and helping us cut the wood required for the beds. This was a difficult job because the wood used was a tree the day before. Graham and Thomas with help from David pre-cut 30 beds for us to assemble. Butch from our group and Thomas continued where Graham left off and are continuing to cut wood for our planned 50 beds, some single , some double. While Butch cut wood Art and Len assembled the kits already made. A truck was rented to bring the beds to the Casita Women’s Centre . After a hard day’s work the thought of carrying the truckload of wood up the stairs was daunting. As we started unloading six small boys appeared out of thin air and started to haul the beds up the stone steps in bare feet. Where we were carrying one board at a time the small boys carried two or three. Finally we just let them do it! With smiles on their faces the boys were excited to get the one quetzale coins we gave them. ( About $0.15 )
The word went out through the unknown network and the next day las mujers ( the women) were lined up to get their beds. The rules were they had to arrange to get the beds to their house by themselves or by hiring help. Most carried the bed slats on their heads and got help with the frames. Art and Len were surprised and pleased to get a big hug from the tiny ladies. You cannot begin to imagine how much the beds mean to these families. Art and Daphne were able to follow some beds home to capture the reaction of these people. The pictures speak for themselves.