I try to be creative with my blog titles so to lure you in, but I couldn’t really think of anything that could relay our success more then the obvious; WE DID IT! By 1pm CST, the 20th Shelter Canada house was complete by the Novacom team. There may have been a some hootin’ and hollerin’ from the bushes once the last screw went in, but by now, the locals are used to our rambunctiousness. Nothing feels quite as sweet as reaching a lofty goal, and we were all feeling higher than a kite.
While the boys finished the remaining homes this morning, Wes and I went into Sensuntepeque to buy the supplies required for the house warming gift baskets that every home receives. I’m a girl, of course I volunteered to go shopping and help put the baskets together! After our daily ritual lunch of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches washed down with a bottle of Gatorade, we made our way to the Palomar community centre where we were met by all 20 families that we had changed the lives of. It was a full house and the room was electric with excitement by everyone (albeit, probably in the most stagnant and hottest room in the world).
Every member of the team had the opportunity to personally present the keys, a Bible, a basket of household necessities, and in true Novacom tradition, also offered words of affirmation and encouragement to the family. But in true Salvadorian tradition, it was us that were offered the gratitude and blessings.
No celebration is complete without a piñata or two, so that’s what we did! Nothing is as fun as watching kids beat a paper mache doll stuffed with candy, and some were even generous enough to offer some candy to us too (that’s tough for a kid to do!).
After our sad but joyful goodbyes with our new friends, we found ourselves at the bank of the Rio Lempa, the river that divides El Salvador and Honduras. And what good is a river if you can’t jump in, clean off after a hot and dirty day and swim to another country? So that’s what we did, except Paul and Luke may have also walked on water. The evening was capped off with a well-deserved meal of famous Pollo Campero and a little free time to goof around.
Just the Facts Ma’am
Here are some quick stats to share with you.
- Shelter Canada started in 2002, and is based out of Calgary, Alberta
- Novacom has been bringing teams to El Salvador every year since 2013, and Wes and Brandon have been coming since 2009
- Our team’s 2018 trip brought the Shelter Canada total to 2512 homes built in El Salvador
- Novacom’s teams have built 72 of those homes in that time frame, with Wes and Brandon involved in teams building approximately another 80 homes
- Teams Brown (of which yours truly was a member of) and Green built the most homes, 7 each, although this wasn’t a “competition” apparently…
- After holes are dug on site, a home should only take 2-3 hours to build
- After the homes are built, another local crew comes in a few days later to level the inside and pour a concrete floor
- The coating on the aluminum helps reflect the heat, and the small space between the top of the walls and the roof allows the air to flow through the homes which also helps to keep the homes cool
Up until now, I have held off formally introducing the team, mainly because I wanted to see how everyone fitted in to this journey. So, without further adieu……….
Conner “Corner” O’Leary – Fearless Leader 1
Brandon “Brando” Drewlo
Patrick “Crooner” Garcia
Paul “Paolo” Stapleton – Fearless Leader 2
Cal “Rookie” Hollings
Harry “Yogi Master” Evans
Colin Thate – Fearless Leader 3
Terry “The Machine” Willows
Misty “Team Mom, Keeper of Drugs, Boo Boo Fixer, Blogger” vanPopta
Team Translators / Driver:
Yancy (pronounced with a J)
Kathleen (pronounced like Kathleen)
Orlando – the driver
Our Team & Our Hosting Family:
Pablito “Super Hefe” Andres
Wilbur “Wiiiiilbear” Andres – the driver
Here are a few more photos from our last day….Saturday we’ll be travelling and won’t be posting, but more updates are coming soon!