Ceci & Dani's corner house was the very first site Serena & I worked on. Our job was to level the ground before pouring the concrete so that the new floor would be flat and not bumpy.
It was hard labour as we had to pick-ax through some hard packed rocks & stones in order to loosen the ground enough for us to rake & level it.
We gave up wearing our face masks shortly after we started digging as it was stifling hot. Suffocate or breathe dust. We chose the latter.
We enjoyed meeting Ceci & Dani who worked alongside us, hauling bucket after bucket of rocks we dug up. But the family that Serena & I made a real connection with was at our next work site:
This triangle area is part of a small house of a family of 10. Our team's job was to clear out the garbage, level the ground, and pour a concrete floor.
The next photo shows all the belongings of the family that was cleared out of the house. They looked and smelled like garbage, but it's everything the family owns.
I clearly remember the stench of this area as we cleared out the garbage. There were rotten food, broken glasses, cockroaches, mice, and a spider the size of your hand...
While the strong men in our team were busy mixing and pouring concrete, Serena & I had a wonderful time getting to know the family: mom Ma Dolores, her kids Erika (21), Jonathan Isaias (11), Cristina Mercedes (10), Esmeralda Rubi (8), and Erika's own kids Pablo Alexande (4) and Dayana Suguey (2). Erika is a single mom.
Serena became fast friends with Cristina and Esmeralda, all 3 girls being around the same age. They played ball, painted each others' nails, and explored the neighbourhood for hours.
Serena went on a short walk to the corner store with the kids and treated everyone with snacks and pop. A sure way to make fast friends!
Dayana is an absolute doll. Serena had a good laugh watching her mauling this poor kitten. Dayana is the youngest in the family. She ran around with no shoes on but full of life.
Pablo came back from school and joined us in the afternoon. Even though school is free, none of the girls go. The two boys in the family, Pablo and Jonathan, are the only ones to get an education.
Erika showed us all the fruit trees around the neighbourhood. We got to try guavalillas (photo above) and guamuchi (photo below). Straight from the tree, onto the ground & dirty hands, and into our mouths.
There were evidently other microscopic things that made their ways from dirt ground and unwashed hands to our tummies. After spending a glorious day with the kids, Serena got very sick and was bedridden for the next 3 days.