14 - 25
For each year for the last 17 years, we have built at least one single family house (sometimes two or three, depending on contributions) and have completed over 40 in total. The houses are basic 400 sq. ft. concrete block structures. The houses cost approximately $4,500-5,000, and utilize local construction workers. By employing local workers, we create local jobs and much needed family income. All materials are purchased in the local economy. Mission team participants who want to help with the construction assist in many ways, from digging foundations, carrying concrete blocks, sifting sand, and mixing concrete. Even though we want to be as helpful as possible at the construction sites, we work with local contractors and laborers and do not want to interfere with their making a living. We provide the funds to build the houses. The eventual homeowners are required to assist in the construction, and to excavate their latrine pit. Homeowners are selected by local government officials, thereby helping to eliminate bias in the selection process.
The mission group has also participated in other construction activities, including building the Children's Project School, a Casa Materna (Mothers’ House), a church and parsonage building, and painting interior walls at the local hospital.
In 2017 the city of Somoto removed several squatters (people who built homes and shelters on land that they did not own) to a barrio and gave them a plot of land but no shelter from the elements. We provided over 80 families wood for frames, tin for roofs and plastic for walls to at least give them some privacy and shelter from the weather.
Many people in the Somoto area live in simple homes built from wood slats, mud bricks, or even plastic sheeting and card board. Many have roofs that have huge gaps or weak materials that allow rain to deluge them and soak their simple possessions during the frequent tropical rain storms. Many earn incomes of one to two dollars a day and cannot afford the zinc sheets needed for protective roofing. Each year, for the average of $100 a roof, we are able to repair a minimum of five roofs, giving the occupants of the homes not only greatly improved comfort, but improved health as well.