Volunteer Vacation Includes Happy Hour—Thursday, Feb. 25, 2010


What’s the perfect end of 10-hour work days of putting what seems like thousands of wood screws into place or breathing sealer and turpentine fumes? Happy hour.

Volunteers Larry, Hoyt and Gary discuss the parallel bars they designed to help children with disabilities learn to walk.

In this case, the focus of happy hour is on sharing the events of the day. OK, there are some wonderful refreshments available, too. Everyone in our group has different talents and we’re really happy LaFonda is sharing her culinary skills with us. Think fresh jalapeno poppers, and other handmade tapas. And if I describe our lunch, courtesy of April, you’d think we’re on a food tour rather than a mission trip.

But work is getting done. It just takes a bit of patience and creativity.

Patience is necessary because nothing is easy in an environment where resources are so scarce. Supplies come to the island once a week on the Wednesday ferry. And creativity is needed because, well, resources are so scarce. For example, how do you take four 12-foot long, one-foot wide boards to the work site quickly if you don’t have a vehicle handy? You take them on your bicycle, of course. See the photo of Bike Mule Larry.

Larry earned a nickname by carrying all sorts of supplies on his bicycle. Yesterday it was plastic chairs--four at a time. Today it was two 12-foot planks. Who needs a truck when you have a Bike Mule?

Larry earned a nickname with his creative transportation for a variety of items. Yesterday it was plastic chairs--four at a time. Today it was two 12-foot planks. Who needs a truck when you have a Mule Bike?

I asked the guys on the church work site to describe their highlights of the day. “Loading up the tools to come home,” says Byron amidst gales of laughter.

While the guys continued their work on the 8 x 12 foot worship platform for Vida Abundante, the rest of the group took a break from painting and sanding to visit ICAT.

Students at ICAT enjoyed a chance to practice their English conversation skills with our volunteers.

This school offers adult continuing education including English classes. Our volunteers were asked to meet with students to give them the opportunity to talk with native English speakers.

“It was two people who were nervous, coming together,” says Texas volunteer LaFonda. “It was beneficial for both the students and for me. The young man I spoke with told me how he played the guitar when he was happy. It was great meeting new friends.”

LaFonda made friends with English students at ICAT.

Bonds are also developing in the group of volunteers. As the work progresses, nicknames have been conferred on Straight Cut Ray (he’s the most accurate one with the skill saw), Gary Drill Hog (apparently his sharing skills are still in progress), Sandy Quality Control Queen (that’s fairly self-explanatory), Bike Mule Larry (as explained in paragraph three).

Happy hour is winding down as I finish this. We’re satisfied with our progress, but there’s still so much to do. Wish you were here helping us.–Phyllis

1 thought on “Volunteer Vacation Includes Happy Hour—Thursday, Feb. 25, 2010

  1. LeeJ

    Phyllis and Gary,
    Thanks for sharing the article and pictures. What a great thing to be doing. Want to come to Russia this summer with us?

    Please greet Karen for me. My best to all of you.

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