Day 7 – Build Day #1

It’s January 2, 2014 and today will be our first day at the build site.  We’re excited to get our hardhats and steel toe shoes on and start constructing.

Our first stop was the ANCOP (ANswering the Cry Of the Poor) head office for an orientation
These posters show the vision and mission of ANCOP
Here’s a closer look at ANCOP’s vision, mission, and programs
Team ANCOP with their matching green and white shorts
ANCOP is the charity arm of Couples for Christ
The 3 pillars of Couples for Christ are 1) Personal Growth  2) Faith in Action  3) Evangelization
ANCOP strives to bring Christ’s transforming love to the poor
Both ANCOP and CFC have Jesus at it’s centre
This was the site that we helped construct in our first year (2011-12)
Even after this experience we can remain involved with ANCOP. The Global Walk is one way to show your support.
Putting our faith into action is what this experience is all about.
After the ANCOP orientation we travelled to the new build site and were instantly greeted by smiling, loving kids
We felt so welcomed
From the bus, all the way through the streets of the community we were warmly greeted with a welcome and happy new year
They even waved Canadian flags as we passed by
We fell in love with the kids right away
As we entered, members of the community sang songs of praise and worship
Many of the kids were sporting their “Be Like Jesus” t-shirts
Smiling from ear to ear
How could you not smile when you see these faces?
We couldn’t ask for a warmer welcome
I wonder where they got all those Canadian flags? Nice touch!
I asked the kids if they knew how to speak English and they all said, “conte lang” meaning “just a little bit.”
We always feel like celebrities everywhere we go
We officially start by saying an opening prayer
After a couple songs and speeches, it’s time to chow down
While having lunch we were able to interact with the kids and members of the community
Taking pictures is their favourite thing to do
No matter where we go, the “Look up” pose is a staple
Lindsay is actually the first Caucasian person to visit this community
We get our building instructions and break up into 3 teams
Here’s team #1
Here’s team #2
And team #3 left before we could take a picture and so we’re off to start working
First job we learned to do is mix sand and mortar
It’s so much harder than it looks
Don’t know what’s so funny but something is making Lindsay laugh out loud
Second job to be done is to fill already placed hollow cinder blocks with mixed concrete
Third job, place mortar on top of each already filled hollow cinder block so that another layer of blocks can be placed on top.
Fourth job, cut rebar to the desired length
Then bend cut rebar to make a 90 degree angle
Fifth job, secure rebar with wire in order to make support beams
While team 1 and 2 complete those tasks, team 3 is busy filling sand bags which is used to mix with powered concrete
On-lookers watching us work
The community children help hold the bag open for Britishawna
After the bags are full, they need to be placed onto a cart
Then the cart has to be pushed up the hill so that the sand bags can be dropped off near the houses we are constructing
It’s all about teamwork
Because a team is only as strong as it’s weakest link
T.E.A.M. – Together Everyone Achieves More
We find time to have some fun as we work
Some of us have more fun than others
These guys are heavier than the sand bags!
British keeps the sand coming
While Mark Anthony receives the bags at the top of the hill
When you mix sand in concrete, you have to make sure that it’s done thoroughly or else it won’t serve it’s purpose
The technique is the make a volcano like structure with the concrete and sand mix so that you can fill it with water
We realized it is so much easier to make an assembly line and pass the hollow blocks along the line verses carrying each block separately
If your shirt’s not soaked in sweat, you’re not working hard enough
How many people does it take to fill a bucket of water? 🙂
Time for a mini break as some of us enjoy cart rides
While other’s played some basketball
And others taught the kids how to count in English, Spanish, and French
Thank you for teaching us French Danielle
Time for “miryenda” (traditional mid-afternoon snack before dinner)….mmmmm, pandesal (filipino sweet bun)
This is how true Filipino’s eat it (dunked in coffee)
Refilling our bodies so we can do some more work
We go back to work after our snack. This team is learning how to fasten rebar together with wire
We need to remix the mortar and add water if it gets too dry, so that it doesn’t go to waste
Lindsay and Shaelyn put on their second layer
After building we made sure to take some time to play with the kids before going back to the hotel.  First thing we do is get to know each other’s name
Next, we play Stella-ella-ola
By now you can guess what game this is…….that’s right: Duck, duck, goose
No matter how many times we play Duck Duck Goose, they continue to love it
The next game is Huckle Buckle
Huckle buckle, ear to knee
This group showed us a new game but because we couldn’t fully understand Tagalog, I don’t think we really got the concept
Pass the squeeze is the next game
First to high five Alana wins!
After playing games with the kids, we play Canada vs. Philippines basketball
Team Philippines wins the first game despite Katrina’s sick jump shot
Danielle is also a sharp shooter and every time she makes a basket the crowd goes crazy
Marc is our highest jumper
In Canada when we play road hockey, we have to stop for cars. In Philippines when they play basketball, we have to stop for tricycles
Look at this triangle defense! Even Phil Jackson would be proud
Mike imposing some shut down defense with 2 blocks in the game
Melissa with the jump shot
Lindsay ready to make her move
“And the fade-away jump shot is………….GOOD!”
Look at that textbook follow-through by Katrina
The fans are enjoying the game too
We pose with the fans before making our way back to the buildsite
This picture shows you how many people came down to the court to watch us play basketball as we all walk back up to the buildsite
Along the way back, many of us stop and pose for a shot
We head over to Trinoma mall and see their nightly light show
Grace before meals
We’re loving the food at Max’s chicken
Especially when you add banana ketchup on everything (so good, Lindsay and Danielle buy a bottle each to take home to Canada)
Mike orders a corn milkshake – sounds weird but it’s delicious
And Danielle eats her ice cream before dinner
Michael is surprised by a birthday greeting by the Max’s staff
FYI – Michael’s birthday in in JUNE! Ohhh, those leaders are quite the jokers
Mike makes a wish!

Day one at the build site was awesome.  We look forward for a full day of construction tomorrow.

Thanks for following our travels.  Please write us your comments below and see our previous post.

15 thoughts on “Day 7 – Build Day #1

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  1. Again and again, God Bless the positive effect you are having on all that will last for years to come.

    Peace and Hope, Steve De Quintal Teacher, Bishop Marrocco / Thomas Merton CSS, 1515 Bloor St. W. Toronto, Ontario M6P-1A3. 416-393-5545 ext. 84293 “To think, to pray and to serve.” “The beauty of human beings lies in their capacity to accept who they are, just as they are; not to live in a world of dreams or illusions, in anger or despair, wanting to be other than they are, or trying to run away from reality. They realize that they have the right to be themselves. And there, they discover that they are loved by god, that they are unique and important for God and that they can do things for others. We may not all be called to do great things that make the headlines, but we are all called to love and be loved, wherever we may be. We are called to be open and to grow in love and thus to communicate life to others, especially to those in need.” – Jean Vanier ****You can always email but a call or a visit will get a quicker response***** ________________________________________

  2. well the building is pretty easy i did it back home from grade 4… i did not work you’ll out for you’ll to be sweating… you’ll can lift double and work twice as hard

  3. Whoever is bending the rebar to 90 degrees has the best job! That was my FAVOURITE job when we went two years ago! I miss the communal local-made lunches. Those were amazing! Looks great this year’s Philippines group! Keep up the good work and I hope this experience has truly put your faith into action just as it did for me!

  4. Today was our first day building! It was definitely something new and challenging. Good thing I was very energetic and excited to begin our biggest project. It was a new learning experience for me and today taught me a lot about teamwork; from mixing the cement to passing buckets filled of it in our assembly line. The merienda prepared by the locals was fantastic and the children were ecstatic during the games. We couldn’t have ended our first day of building any better than with a game of street basketball.

  5. First day of building was actually the highlight of our project! It taught us many things about building houses and how to cooperate with one another. Also, playing with the kids at the end of the day was a good way to end our successful and productive day at the site.

  6. The first day of building was definitely a great experience. The people were so warm and friendly and it seemed like I’ve known them forever. The kids were so excited once our bus pulled up ad the smiles on their faces from the second we got off and until we got back on was amazing to see.

    This is my first time ever being on a construction site so the experience was new. If I could describe it in one word, it would be exhausting.

    Playing with the children afterwards was even more tiring since they kept jumping on us and wanting to play more and more.

    I love this community so much. I’m glad that we get to spend a couple of more days here.

  7. Day 1 of building has finally arrived! Meeting all the families, children and workers in the community was amazing, they welcomed us with open arms.. Though I enjoyed working at the site, I was dead tired by the end of it. But I did have enough energy to play some basketball!

    On a shorter note, Happy Birthday Mike!!!

  8. The first day of building was very challenging, even though I knew what I signed up for I was not expecting this much work. It was really great to see how involved the kids were in the community, they were all so friendly and welcoming. The kids were enthusiastic and positive all day!! I remember when I was shovelling the sand two kids were fighting over which one should go first and then they started racing. If this was in t.o. the people would be lazy and would not do anything.

    It was love at first sight with the people of this community! It did not even feel like I was working because the lady made me feel comfortable. She held an umbrella over me to protect me from the sun and was playing music and dancing with me!

    Dinner was great! The prank we played on Mike by asking the waiters to sing him happy birthday was hilarious! He legit had no expression on his face. He claims he saw it coming…

  9. I did not know what to expect at all. The first thing we did when we arrived was eat, and while we were eating, we were swarmed with kids and adults eager to meet us. At that point, I started to feel welcomed already. When we finally started building, my first task was to mix cement. After a while, it gets tiring and you begin to sweat a lot. Nonetheless, it was great because I knew it was just the beginning to help build the houses. Once we finished building, we headed down to the basketball court and play with the people of the community. They thought it was so different seeing girls play basketball. Mel and I proved girls too can play. Day one was great and I was excited to be a part of their community for the next few days.

  10. Having never built a house before, I was pretty excited for the first build day. My first job was the push the cart of sand bags up a hill. By far the most fun job out of them all! I really got close with the people there that day. I was invited into a house to dance and relax. I loved the first build day and was super excited for the second day. Playing with the kids was so fun, and I even rode a bike which I hadn’t done in the longest time.

  11. HAPPY BIRTHDAY MIKE!!! Hahaha, that day was a good day! My first impression of AKC were the kids. I thought, “THESE KIDS ARE NUUUTS!!” When we arrived there, I saw kids wearing pants and a sweater where as I just got off an air conditioned bus and was already sweating buckets. 😛 They were nuts but they were so sweet. Once we got off the bus, we were greeted with high fives and hugs, good mornings and hellos! I felt so welcomed and I was also really excited to stay with this community for 5 days!! 😀

  12. This has been the day we’ve all been waiting for! When we arrived at AKC I could feel the energy and happiness within the community. Everyone in the community was very polite and welcoming. The kids and adults were so happy to have us there and we were excited to meet them. The titas did an amazing job with the food because we were stuffing our faces even if our stomachs couldn’t take anymore food.

    The actual building of the house was harder than I expected. Shovelling the sand into bags and mixing the cement was back breaking work. We all pulled through because we came there with a goal. The kids even joined and helped us with the shovelling.

    Playing with the kids was the best part because some got very competitive and watching them have fun without any worries put a smile on my face. Thank goodness we get to spend 4 more days with them.

  13. Day one of building and I am really excited about this project and this community. Coming off the bus, everyone was just so welcoming and they made us all feel at home. We got to meet everyone, all the families, kids, workers and organizers from ANCOP. There was a lot of work to be done and I started off with unloading the sand bags off the cart and soon after that I started applying the cement to the hollow blocks. After building we ate, the food was really good and i’ve never had such delicious pandesal. Playing with the kids was a lot of fun because of how enthusiastic they were. After, we played some basketball and these guys were insanely quick, with their passing and their shots. I’m excited for the days to come. Almost forgot, Happy Birthday Mike!

  14. Our first build day was very unexpected. I was asleep when the bus pulled over, so when I opened the curtains I was surprised because there were so many kids waiting for us! They greeted us with high fives and big smiles as we got off the bus, it was very uplifting. When I tasted the food they prepared for us during lunch, I immediately thought that they would serve us the best meals during our trip. There was a lot of work to be done at the build site and I didn’t know what to expect. We did our jobs and at the end of the day I felt like my whole body was beat up. I should’ve listened to Mike when he said that our work was going to be very hard, and I wish I took the work outs more seriously.

    The people of AKC are very nice and hospitable. They are very welcoming and they seemed very comfortable with us on the first day. We all got close with one another very quickly which is why it was so hard to leave them even on the first day. Overall, it was a day full of joy, laughter, and sweat but I had a lot of fun!

    Happy Birthday Mike!!!! 🙂

  15. Out of all the days, build day 1 is probably my favourite! Right from the start, I had a big goofy smile plastered onto my face because of how happy the kids were to see us. Greeting them with high fives (up here!) and learning about them just made me so happy! The first one I ever met was George and he always made me smile. He wanted my safety glasses so I promised to give them to him on the last day! They suit him better than they suit me after all! :p When I was shoveling the sand, there were kids all around, helping me out even though they don’t have any safety gear whatsoever! One boy, Kevin (kabayo!) even held an umbrella over my head while I was shoveling. How sweet 😥 ❤

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