Michel’s New House!

Feb 15, 2014 | Students

We received some wonderful photos of Michel’s family’s house being built by the family and the volunteers of the 4 Walls Project in early January. No longer will they have to live with black plastic walls, and deal with flooding during the rainy season, walls tearing during windstorms, and a lack of privacy and security.

Our friend Ashley tells us this:

“It has been an incredible experience so far. The family has been involved in every step of the process, as have the volunteers. Some wonderful relationships have been developed – the kids are ADORABLE and have been extremely helpful, even little 7 year old Perla. In fact, a few of the volunteers have commented on how hard of a worker she has been. She picks up on things so quickly and has tried every single job, even sifting sand! She is quite the little teacher as well…Rob taught her how to twist the iron rods into the squares that get put on the columns and vigas, and then she decided to teach me; after “helping” me with a couple, she said “now you try by yourself”, and when I asked how I was doing, she said “no, this one you have to do by yourself! You tell me how you’re doing!” A natural teacher for sure. She is SO curious, which is refreshing. She asks about everything and has shown a true interest in getting to know the volunteers, even asking Rob and Sue how they learned English.

Michel has also been a huge helper, both with the construction and with her mother helping her keep the site clean and making and selling the tortillas. They have been amazing at helping every step of the way, but also taking the time they need to continue their home business to support the family. They work extremely hard to balance both and share with the volunteers. Michel and Perla are keeping journals for us about their experience, drawing pictures and writing about what is going on and their reactions to things, so I look forward to seeing them and sharing some with you once their house is finished!

Yerson and Eugenio (son and father) have worked non-stop since day one, and they are doing the back-breaking work of hand digging the ditch around the perimeter of the house, filling the ditch with rocks, hand mixing cement, and carrying the cement in buckets and pouring it into the ditch.

The rest of us have been doing a number of different jobs, including cutting wire using hand-held wire cutters, cutting iron rods (you will see in the pictures), cutting smaller iron rods and shaping them into squares using a hand-held iron tool, putting together the columns and vigas (using the iron rods, square shaped pieces, and wire), and sifting sand.”

Here are a few photos of the process. For the whole album, please check out Michel’s page.

Bricks A pile of bricks, soon to be a house (click to enlarge)

Yerson Older brother Yerson (click to enlarge)

Sisters2 Loving sisters (click to enlarge)

HelpingOut Everyone gets involved (click to enlarge)

Helping4 Carrying the cages for the corner posts and vigas (click to enlarge)

BuildingWalls Sometimes, building walls is a good thing (click to enlarge)

MercedesHouse Mercedes, proudly surveying her almost finished home (click to enlarge)

FamilyInsideHouse The family inside their new brick home (click to enlarge)

Now, so you fully understand what just happened here:

OldHouse BEFORE (click to enlarge)

OutsideNewHouse AFTER (click to enlarge)

The 4 Walls project has built over 60 homes in El Sauce in the past 7 years. The 4 Walls project was the reason Alex and Christa were in El Sauce and came up with the idea to start a scholarship foundation. This one little project, run almost entirely by volunteers and private donations, has changed the lives of literally hundreds of people. It is an exceptional example of a grass-roots, sustainable, locally managed, in-country service organization—in short, the kind of organization that can change the world. If you’re interested in more information about the project, you can check them out at www.4wallsproject.org. Anyone can volunteer to go to El Sauce and build houses and get to know the members of this wonderful community. We hope you’ll consider joining a building project. Who knows? You may see Alex or Christa there when you come!

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1 Comment

  1. This is such a wonderful organization! We are glad to be part of it, and can’t wait to come down and build another few houses. Thank you for the report!