Today, Jan 6th is the last of the 12 days of Christmas, also known as 12th Night in Shakesperian Circles. Our 12th day of Christmas was quite a day. As usual when we arrived at the work site the now familiar, oom pah oom pah music was blaring from the neighbor's house. It made us work faster.
When we arrived today there was one retaining wall up and one line of bricks for the foundation. Our assignment of the morning was to build the foundation up to ground level and then back fill with dirt we dug from another area of the yard.Watch the video
We filled backfilled and you could now see where the floor would be. It was approaching 12 noon and it lunch was almost ready. We had been eating around the edges of the house to be on what ever we could find to sit on. Before we knew it, a table had been placed on the soon to be floor, chairs brought out and a beautiful lace table cloth was placed on it. It was Dias de Reyes!
Day of the Kings! This is the day children get presents. (We had brought plenty with us)
Rosina, the mother announced that on this day, they would have their first meal in their new house. Soon the topas, beens and rice were served. The most wonderful rice milk with cinnamon was brought out and the celebration began. It was the first holiday feast in their new home, although only a foundation was there. Most of us were near to tears. After the meal, in the Catholic tradtion, blessed the house. No lintel yet, no door yet, but we knew where it would be and the traditional 20+C+B+M+10 was written on the cement blocks in chalk. The four corners blessed with holy water and then the round of applause. The children gathered for presents. I would not have wanted to be any where else.
The celebration was over and now the cement began. From 1 pm to 3:30 pm we mixed cement with out stop. In the end we made 8 tons of cement, passed 1 small bucket at a time to secure the foundation and begin the floor. We could barely stand when finished. We cheered that it wad finally done. (More awaits us tomorrow.)
We came back to the Posada, had 10 minutes to wash and change, then head to Casa de Migrante, a shelter for Migrants many of whom were deported from the US. This house run by the Scalabrini Missionaries allows them to stay for 12 days while they figure out what they would do. We ate a meal with them and heard stories of fathers leaving their children behind in the States after living their for 20 years. We talked to a 20 year old who was picked up, seperated from his family and now in a country where he knows no one. It was heart breaking, but we were impressed at the work of the Brothers and Fathers of the Casa.
After a very long day, we arrived back at the Posada for a wonderful meal and the tradtional King cake. I think we will all sleep well tonight. (I'm sorry if there are mistakes...I'm very tired.)