Hello Lovely friends,
It’s been about 2 weeks I haven’t written and updated everyone; Apologies! However, there IS a good reason. We were working very very hard! Aaaaaand the construction went very well – please read below. ?
Once all the material was bought and taken to site, we had almost everything we needed; a school to fix, the ideas, the material, and the beautiful kids excited to paint with us! All that was missing was…. People to build. We didn’t have many “grown ups” to help. SO! We just jumped into it – and hoped for the best. We knew something would come up. and so it did…
The main people who were working were Danilo, a team member from Maximo Nivel, and myself. We also had Darcie and Olivia whom would always come give us a hand when they were able to split up from the kids. (Thank you ladies ? )
During the first 2 weeks of construction, while the kids stayed in the church area, we started working in the main front “container” and thought we would work into the WC and then the back as we could give them back some space as we moved on with work.
We removed all the unnecessary (and broken) furniture, shelving, kitchen equipment (which did not work) and we took out all the dangerous elements that were lying (and hanging) around – as the safety of the children is our priority. We built cabinets, fixed old ones, added a steel mesh on the top (where the roof is) to stop things from falling on the kids, reorganised the space to make it more efficient, and painted the entire area.
As we started finalising the first area, I really didn’t know how the 2 of us would be able to pour the concrete, build walls, a roof, steps, and do the piping for the basin relocation in the other spaces – but I just thought it’s best to keep pushing.
On Monday morning (about a week or so after) , as I walked into Maria Aux, I saw a group of men, women, and teens waiting for me inside, dressed up in full on working gear – I couldn’t believe my eyes. They had all come in to help! The town had seen how much work we were doing and some of the families and friends of Silvia, the Pastor, and the community, decided to pitch in. They said (and in great English!) “You came all the way from Lebanon and Dubai to help our community – we also want to help.” It was the best feeling EVER!
Of all the emotions that went through my heart during this trip – this was the best – I can still feel the joy and love from seeing everyone so happy to help. All they needed was the motivation, from a girl they didn’t even know, whom was helping their children have a better school. It was Amazing.
The next 3 weeks, we all powered through and worked so hard to build everything that was left. We cleaned, painted, and fixed the bathroom , added steps where needed, a roof in the back area, rotated the basin, built it up and painted it, added a soap dispenser, poured concrete to have a floor rather than a swamp and did a small back area to use, built up some walls to enclose the space, and keep strangers, stray dogs and cats away, and a few little things here and there. The most important thing, is that we did it together. It was super ?
The entire project had taken 2 months to finalise; 3 weeks to meet the kids, get acquainted with the space, come up with ideas, and get all the material ordered and on site; and another 5 weeks of construction work, organising the space annnnnd – the final touches with the kids!
Lots of photos are in this blog as I wanted to show you as much as possible of the progress with our team.
I will follow in the next few days with the final few blogs about Maria Aux, including the challenges we went through, the before and after pictures of the school, and finally, my last day with the kids.
Thank you once again for following us through this wonderful story – it feels like a dream when I write about it. I hope you are feeling it to.