Two more mingas were held this month. During the first one, the cement and steel foundations were laid for one of three rows of supports for the house. Many Ecuadorians were involved in that work day. During the second minga, the holes for the third support were dug. This involved digging through as much as eight feet of rock, and it was not possible to use a jackhammer. In between the mingas, work continued to take place, building the concrete and steel pillars and laying the second support trench. More Gringo volunteers were involved and we have other who wish to help in the future. Someone has donated sufficient floor tile for the whole house.
We faced two problems this month. The first was that a well-meaning volunteer wrote a magazine article in which he gave wrong information about the project’s finances and the donors. This didn’t damage the project but we are very embarrassed that the misinformation was published. The second problem was a little more unnerving. A government official visited the site and told the contractor, Gustavo, that because of a plan to build a bridge at the end of the Japa’s road to connect it to la Valle, the road will be widened, and also, due to a recent change in the status of the area from “area rustica,” the Japa’s planned house would be too close to the road, and must be moved back by about a meter. It was also necessary to supply the plans for the house to be approved. This was depressing news, because it would mean that all the work to build the first supports would be for naught.
A volunteer architect supplied the plans for the house. I will obtain a copy for you. Rocio and Gustavo met with the mayor, who advised them that the official was wrong. The bridge will be built at the end of another road, and the placement of the house remains legal.
We believe that it is better to allow Gustavo to hire a man to work with him during the week (at a cost o about $25 per day) to speed up the work. We will have another volunteer minga when it is time to mix and pour more concrete. We will require more money in order to purchase the bricks and concrete, but others have offered to try to raise the funds.
Thank you for your ongoing support of this project!