Our final full day involved something new for this mission; manual labor. Earlier in the week, Wilson told us that he needed to build another room in his house because his whole family was sleeping in one room, on one bed. Wilson has done so much for the mission over the years, so we decided that we would help him out in purchasing some of the materials. We told him we would help build and he thought we were joking. We were not. We got everything coordinated so that the materials would be delivered on Friday morning and said a prayer that it would happen.
Our day started with breakfast at 7am and Wilson's arrival at 7:30 so we could beat the morning traffic. We arrived just before 9am and much to our delight, the concrete truck showed up mere minutes later. The guys helped take the bags of concrete mix off the truck and quickly following that, the truck with the concrete blocks arrived. There were 800 concrete blocks (6 palates worth) to be removed from the truck, so we got to work quickly. The workers told us what to do and appeared to be surprised that 'little white girls' were so willing and able to help. We sure showed them. As did the little boys who were taking blocks from the truck with us. As we were moving the blocks, the professionals began to lay them down with the concrete. We asked to help, but they had their system and told us it would be best if we just watched. No problem. Another job that we were able to help with was being the manual concrete mixers. Just mix, water and a shovel. It was interesting to see the systems they had to get everything done in their own way, without machinery.
At one point, a few of us took a walk down the street to see the boy Edward who we had taken to the clinic earlier in the week. He was walking around and the wound looked much better. He said he felt better and that he had gotten 5 Penicillin injections so far! The other person we got to talk to was the woman whose house was threatened by the bank. She was extremely grateful that we were able to help her out.
After we had finished all the work we could do, Wilson's wife made us a delicious lunch - with American fries! We got to play with the children for a little longer and then it was time for us to go. Alberto did not want us to go. He tried to tie Helen and Jen to his house and kept telling us it was $50 to be able to leave. They were able to break free and we piled into the van. Just before we left, Alberto came up to the van and convinced Wilson to let him come with us. We arrived back at the hotel and said our teary "See you laters" to Wilson and Alberto.
The evening ended with Joel and Elizabeth coming to the hotel to say good bye and make plans for next year. We talked for a long time about potential plans for the future and about his goals for his new bible study. Joel explained to us that in the past when we came he was grateful for what we do but this time with the visit to the families in Hoyo Claro he really felt like we were able to help those in the most need and start something that could truly begin to make a lasting difference. We all agreed that the places we have gone in the past; the mountain school, clinic & families, Wilson's grandmother's village, Wilson's house in Higuey are important to us and we want to continue to support them but we felt called to expand our mission and spend more time in Hoyo Claro.
The time for goodbyes came too soon, and yet again the tears came as we hugged Elizabeth and Joel but we know we will be back soon because there is much work to be done.