The Hayes Zoo

Our Purpose

- to know God and use our entire lives in service to Him.

- to stand in the gap through prayer, giving and service to viable ministries in Latin America.

- to be transparent helpers of fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, using our resources and skills that through the Holy Spirit, we might encourage and equip those who have less.

- to share a living perspective from Latin America to our churches, friends and family in the states and beyond.

Monday, June 1, 2009

when the earth shakes and the sky falls

Life is pretty simple here. More for the native Hondurans than for us, and especially for the people in the small villages that pepper even the most rugged reaches of the landscape. Many of these villages have no road access at all, nothing more than foot-paths that wind through the trees and over the hills and valleys. Quite a few still have no electricity. The people in such villages - 'aldeas' they are called in Spanish - eek out a living of a few dollars a day doing what they can, growing corn and beans on steep mountain hillsides and live lives of absolute simplicity - unimaginable simplicity to most Americans. In the aldeas, fields are plowed and wagons pulled with oxen and houses are built of adobe mud bricks with no foundation; roofs are clay tiles - 'tejas' - laid (not nailed or screwed) on a framework of wooden slats.

Such low-tech building techniques prove to be particularly problematic when, for example, the area is hit with a sizable earthquake, like the one we had here last week. While block houses and more modern buildings were spared notable damage (we are a couple hundred miles from the epicenter), the rustic houses in the campo and the aldeas are quite susceptible to earthquake damage. Today Allen Sowers and I spent the day visiting one of the areas hardest-hit by the earthquake, an hour and a half from Gracias. In the single town we visited - Tablones, Lempira - we saw over 20 houses that were either destroyed or damaged beyond repair, and a sizable percentage of the other houses in town sustained more minor damage. Damage to the houses generally involves the tejas on the roofs falling in, and walls cracking and, more seriously, collapsing. The pictures here were taken today, Monday, several days after the quake, after most families have started cleaning up and rebuilding.

We delivered food and blankets to the 22 houses we visited in Tablones, and left more for another 25 or so families that had reported their houses destroyed to the county government; we'll quite possibly make a few more such deliveries in the coming days. We are also working on raising money for cement and re-bar to allow those rebuilding their homes to put a cement footing under the house, and, confirming that, a cement band around the top of the adobe walls - standard building procedure here for those who can afford it. None of the damaged buildings we saw today had any of these improvements. All donations sent to us denoted for earthquake relief will be used entirely for such projects.

Kind of a side-note - this earth oven is very common down here, and is what everyone in the villages cooks on. They are made of the same adobe mud the house is made of, and are built into the house. They are wood-fired. This one has a chimney to vent the smoke outside, an improvement over many here.

This is temporary housing built after the earthquake to house a family whose house was lost; the elderly gentleman at far right and his wife now live here, along with several others. The tarp says USAID, an American aid organization that works here.

'Tejas' - the roof tiles. The ones that didn't fall are removed and stacked on the ground to be re-used.

No comments: