What an amazing day! We (Orfe, Ismael and I) spent most of 5 hours talking and planning with the group from El Chal...Carlos (the mayor), 3 men from the COCODE (Comite Desarollo Comunidad), which is the governing body for this community, Catalina, 4 other health promoters. These are the key people who need to be on board to get this project heading in the right direction. Everyone was so excited to get to talk about the plans for the birthing center, and some great ideas were exchanged. In the end, we made a few changes to our original sketch, and then went to explore the land they have designated for the building.
We talked about how the birthing center would best fit on the area, leaving some room for "parking" in the front (since they are hoping people will come from other villages as well), and space for a "garden" in the back. The 3rd picture is of the group standing around the perimeter of where the center will be.
Carlos and Catalina then went with us to get some prices on building materials at a couple of different construction stores. Of course, the words mean nothing to me in Spanish or English, but I am trying to learn. A cement block is 20 cm long and 15 cm tall. A piece of plywood (if we decide to use some wood for the interior) is 4 X 6 feet.
Everyone in the group seems very excited, and are praising God for an opportunity such as this for their community. Calatina shared that this was a "sueno" (dream) for her, and is the most excited of all!
Now all we have to do is some high order math to turn centimeters into feet and quetzales (Guatemalan currency) into dollars...and God willing we will be on our way to building by the end of the year!
We are talking about trying to have a (small) group that would come down around late October to help kick off the building, then there would be a "foreman" here who would continue to work on the building, with most of the labor being done by men in the community. We would then have a group come down early in December (we already have a medical team planned then) to help finish the building and put the finishing touches. It was amazing as we talked how the group began to brainstorm about how to get everyone in the community involved. The women talked about how they could take turns cooking and bring refreshments to the men so that they wouldn't have to stop working, and the men talked about taking turns working so that each one would not have to spend more than 1 or 2 days in a row working on the building.
One of the women even mentioned that perhaps they could propose to the community that, in order for everyone to have an equal contribution, each family should commit to work on the building at least 1 or 2 days, and if noone in the family was able to work, they could instead donate money to help offset costs of having the others work extra hours. What an interesting idea!
We left with a renewed excitement for the project, and some good ideas about how to go forward. First will be clearing the land, which can be done by hiring a man with a "big machine" at 200 quetzales per hour (about $30) for 2 or 3 hours. One of the men will work on running water from the other side of the road to the site, which he said will be "muy facile".
Despite the heat and humidity, Brent and Jessi spent some time playing basketball with the children in the village.
After a delicious dinner of carne asada at the Martinez house, my brain is full of words, numbers, and thankfulness! God is good!