By Brady Feltz
Concrete isn’t just concrete in Honduras. To the outside observer, it is just sand, water, and a bagged mix. It is an adhesive that holds heavier things together, or forms a base to build on. The importance of concrete can get lost in the midst of construction, when there are so many other things that are needed. But concrete is more than concrete, especially in Honduras.
Our group, like so many others, had broken up into smaller groups to work with villagers in order to get as many projects done as possible. Along the way, we got to know different villagers fairly well, working together on their homes. At the end of the day we would go back and share our stories and learn more about the village as a whole.
But something felt disconnected. We were all pouring ourselves into our projects, but we were spread out. Rarely did we see most of our group, let alone all of it. Even more rare was seeing a majority of the villagers at once. And so I was left feeling slightly disconnected from the village and my group.
Until one day.
Until the day when that magical Honduran concrete brought together more than it had ever before. All of the other projects had been finished, and now we were left with one community wide project. We needed to form and pour the bond beam for the village church.
A bond beam, for those who don’t know (like I didn’t), is the beam used to create sturdy support for the level above it. In the States, we use them like mini-foundations for each story of a building. But in Honduras, it is the cornerstone to a foundation. And it is a project that cannot be done by four or five people. You need people smoothing out the concrete in the forms. You need people mixing the concrete, almost constantly. That means you need people bringing water to mix the concrete constantly. And you need people hauling the concrete as fast as you can mix it.
Neither group, our team from Mt. Zion UMC in Kentucky, or the village itself, had the manpower to do this on their own. It would take both of us to get this done, and done well. And this is how concrete is more than just concrete. It became a representation of the work the village and Mt. Zion UMC had done together.
It was under that Honduran sun that we poured our sweat, together, into the concrete. It was in that field that we poured that concrete into the foundation of a church; a church which tied our villages in the States to their village by the universal church. It was by everyone’s effort that the cornerstone was formed that day.
It was a remarkable representation of the bond we had formed with El Encinal. A bond formed by sweat and work. A bond formed by Christ. A bond that would not, that could not, be easily shaken or broken. A bond on which both groups could build upon.
Concrete is more than concrete in Honduras.
Do you have a story you would like to share from your trip with HOI? We’d love to hear from you! Contact Erin Daniel at email@example.com for details.