Week 2: Pichilemu
After a sad good bye and missing our bus in Chillan because of a small error in ticket purchasing, we eventually made it to Pichilemu, a small town on the coast of Chile. When we first got here we were welcomed by our first translator that met us in Santiago, Juanda (he lives in Pichilemu), and Robbie (he’s base staff). We got a tour of Pichilemu with Juanda and his two little girls, Espe, and Laney. Pichilemu is a really nice town, where surfing is the thing to do! In summer the population multiplies by five, and it gets so crowded here that they have to block off the main road from cars so pedestrians have a place to walk. After the tour we were shown to where our homes would be for the next week. The girls all got to share a Cabana (rental house), so much fun! Justin, Trevor, and Kelly got to stay with Juanda’s parents.
Our first few days of work was at the community centre that is run by YWAM. The community centre is a way for YWAM to reach the people of Pichilemu through swimming lessons, water aerobics, dance classes, fitness centre, internet café etc… Right now the pool is unusable since it received a massive crack in it from the earth quake last February. We were told that during the earth quake the water in the pool created a massive wave. So our job was to fix the crack, retile, re-grout, and clean the pool. I must say, I enjoy grouting, and by the end I was pretty good at it :) Other jobs at the community centre included painting, cleaning the kitchen, and building a ramp.
Once the cement foundation was dry and set, we made our way to the building site to build a new home for a family. The family that lived there consisted of a father, Juanito Olero, and his two daughters. The family said that during the earth quake they left the house, and when they came back a little while later the whole house, except for the bathroom and entrance, was flattened. So lucky for us, we had a very nice washroom to use on site. A lot of the house was pre fabricated for us at the community centre, so it did not take us long to put it all together, and get the roof on in one day. The church that Juanito attended, took care of us for the weekend. Church members took us all in for the night, as well as cooked some AMAZING meals for us, we were all VERY well fed. They barbequed pork for us, and the pieces were bigger then our faces! The church totally surrounded Juan and his family, and supported him 100%, so amazing! The church youth group invited us to share about our time with YWAM, I think we have some of them convinced to sign up when they’re older.
Since there is a high need for building supplies, hardware stores are running out of a lot of materials. So we were unable to finish the house on Sunday like we planned. We returned on Tuesday and worked all day and got as far as we could with the supplies we had. By the end of it, my hammer and I became good friends. I really really enjoyed building that house, one of the proudest moments of my life. We prayed over the house, prayed a special blessing over the Olero family. Juanito was in tears as we thanked him for allowing us to bless him by building him a new home. At that moment he didn’t need any words, we could see how much we had blessed him, which made all the hard work in the cold, and rain worth it. This is one of the things in life we will all look back on and be so proud of. We all thank God for this opportunity to be blessed, and be a blessing.
Every once in a while we would feel aftershocks, which is a strange feeling. Most of the time the windows would rattle a little, and that was it. But a couple of times they were large enough to wake us up at night. “They were appreciated with a decent level of excitement and concern.” says Miriam Coombs. Jessica Staude agrees, that Miriam Coombs has completely captured the full essence of the experience of tremors. Haha, I actually thought they were kind of a cool feeling, however also scared me. The first time I felt one I thought someone was banging into my chair and I yelled out "HEY!" and then I realized that it was an aftershock, and felt kinda silly. But that’s not the only bit of Chile we experienced this week. We ate a lot of empinadas, and alfojors, moy delicioso. Justin, Trevor, and Kelly went surfing, the ocean and beach is so beautiful here. Tonight we will be watching the sun set while horse back riding on the beach, we’re all really looking forward to it.
Tomorrow morning we leave for Mendoza, Argentina to start Niko. We still don’t know what Niko is, but once we do find out, we won’t be able to tell you. Everyone who’s done Niko is sworn to secrecy. So please pray for us as we make the long bus ride (10 hours) to Mendoza tomorrow. And thank you all parents and friends for all of your prayers, they are greatly appreciated.
P.S. This is a comination of my team blog and my own personal input.