Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Giving Shelter

Alfredo's Team
The Team - Efrain (former NPH maintenance worker), me, Alfredo's two little girls, Carolina (Alfredo's wife), Alfredo, Daniel (NPH maintenance worker).

Alfredo is a special friend to me here in Nicaragua. More genuinely kind and friendly than most, he welcomed me to Nicaragua while I was a stranger, without knowing if I would stay or become one of the many who pass through. Here he is with his guitar singing me Happy Birthday!

He works as a gate guard/landscaper at the NPH offices making about $150 per month and until she was laid off this week, his wife worked as a caregiver at Casa Asis, the babies house.

Alfredo's Corner
Rebar columns and beams form the simple skeleton of the house.

Having a home has long been a dream of Alfredo and Carolina's in a country where you have to save and buy outright. Mortgages and credit are generally kept for the rich.

But as has been known here for a long time, and as we are learning in the US, there are investments more important than those you have in the bank.

alfredo's house
Outline of Alfredo's house - the kitchen/living room is on the right/front, two bedrooms are on the left/back, and the bathroom is in the corner farthest from the camera for a total of under 500 square ft.

Alfredo and Carolina have devoted much to those around them.

And as their return, they are receiving multiple donations for their new house. Some are giving labor, some are giving a bag of cement. Virtually everyone from the office has donated something, even those who are making the same minimum income as Alfredo.

Mixing Concrete
Efrain and Daniel mix concrete by hand.

Wedgwood Community Church (my home church in Seattle) has donated 16 sheets of zinc (the whole roof) and 5 steel beams for a grand total of $300.

The donation was given with such love and generosity by the small neighborhood centered church. And it was received with sincere appreciation for the fulfillment of such a basic need. I felt fortunate to watch the connection made.

Hardware Devilery Truck
Offloading the zinc from the hardware store delivery truck to a neighbors house until the walls are ready.

From everyone on the team - Thank you Wedgwood Community Church!

Alfredo Bussing Bricks
Alfredo continuing to earn his home.

A Prayer For Shelter

Lord, on the night you were born, there was no room in the inn.

May we remember those who do

not have a place to sleep tonight.

Jesus, you were born in a stable.

May we be builders of decent homes.

Lord, you wandered in the desert, fighting temptation.

We seek direction and your strength as we strive to do your will.

Jesus, you ministered to all those in need of decent housing.

May we work tirelessly for all those in need of decent housing.

Jesus, you came that we might have life.

We offer ourselves to be your hands and feet in the world.

God of all, give us the courage to speak out for those who have no voice.

Help us remove the obstacles that stand in the way of all our children

having a simple, decent place in which to live and grow.

Give us strength to take action.

We ask this in Jesus' name.


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