Monday, November 26, 2012

Raising the roofs

Boarding up student houses is a great project for teams from the States. You come down to a few posts in the ground and after a few days of measuring, cutting and hammering you leave with a few houses finished...except the roof. We haven't found anybody in the groups that come down that know how to put on a thatched roof! In fact, it is somewhat difficult to find a Guatemalan who knows how to do it right. And doing it right is important. A thatched roof made of large guano palm leaves will last from 12-30 years depending on whether or not it is done right.

You'll never find a Spanish speaking person who knows how to put on a thatch roof. To get the experts you need to go off into the sticks of Petén, off the beaten path. Thankfully, those are our people! 7 guys from the Domingo's home village of Se' Tul and 12 guys from Esfuerzo 2 got up early one morning to take a bus 4 hours from their villages to come to the Institute to help us put on the roofs of two student houses. This was a bigger deal for the 12 guys from Esfuerzo because they had to walk an hour in the mud before they got to the road where the bus was. 8am they arrived, had a quick breakfast and got to work. 

I had ordered the 4,000 palm leaves (2,000 per house) to be ready by the week before, but come that morning only half were there, so I followed the farmer's instructions on how to get to the pasture where the leaves were waiting for me. Here are pictures of the landmarks I was told to look for:

First, take a left at the palm tree:
 Then take a right by the field of beans:
There are no beans in this field, but thankfully Domingo could look at the field and know that there probably used to be beans there. 

Then follow the "road" until you can't go any further. 
Once there we started loading up the bundles. Each bundle is 50 leaves and weighed around 100 pounds. 
We could fit 10 bundles in my truck and then everybody would jump on and hope I didn't accelerate too much. 
The guys putting the roofs on had a great system and by lunch time had already put on 3,000 leaves. 
Even Domingo was working hard carrying the bundles. 
The guys took some sticks and put a nail through one end so the guy on the scaffolding could grab a leaf from the guy below and pull it up.
The top is a very tricky part, so it took a little more time, but by 3pm, everything was done.
Some of you have been to Esfuerzo 2 before. If you look at the picture below you might recognize some of the guys as one that led your horse to the village, or sang a hymn for you, or if you are Amy Williams you were there when several of them accepted Christ. It was very special to have these men who we first met as unsaved families merely interested in our God, now travel for hours to help the Institute that will train their future pastor. 
Thank you to everyone who has been praying for this project and supporting it.


  1. 30 years for a roof in a rain forest! That is craftsmanship!

  2. How cool.
    Wanda A.

  3. This. Is. AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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