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Entered By: Mark
Entry Date: 2010-01-05 12:33:57
Subject: New Home

As Paula stated yesterday, we are in the new home. Today we've returned to some kind of normalcy. School started this week and I am at home rather than picking up friends from the airport.

There are a few final touchups that the home needs and we will do as funding permits. For one thing, closets don't have doors. The guest bedroom has no door. The downstairs bathroom has no doors. We are missing a couple windows. We have no screen in the back porch nor laundry room so the hornets are taking over. We have no cabinets in our bathroom. The pantry has no shelves. We need some excavating outside to keep the water from building up around the house; although I've always wanted a moat, Paula is not there yet. No part of the house has been painted. Toilets leak into the bottom floor. Various electric outlets arc and pop breakers when you use them. We have no ceiling downstairs so you can see all the wiring and plumbing; but that seems to be gaining popularity in American restaurants. You know, little things.

We did have to do something difficult this morning. I need to lay off two of the workers due to my computer work slowing down. We broke the news to one worker, a single mother, this morning. She has worked for us for 2.5 years so she has built up a legally decreed severance of 8 weeks' salary. I will pay her a lump sum on Friday at her request. Now I need to break the news to one of the two farm workers; in his case we will have some contract work for him but it won't pay as much.

The laws are stacked against employment here. To keep someone on salary gives them legal rights that most employers opt not to pay. Therefore most workers keep their jobs no more than six months. To keep a laborer more than six months requires that the worker be paid double in June and December. To keep a worker more than a year requires that the worker be paid a month of severance for every year worked. It's very counterproductive, but the laws were written by our socialist party, so what would you expect?

We are now enjoying the role that we originally envisioned before moving here: aunt and uncle! We get to be the ones that offer relief when the primary parents are pooped out. We get to bake the cookies and bread for the boys. We are the ones that get to pray and read the bible at night. We get to host different boys every night at dinner for some North American Food. We enjoy having the boys over for play time after school. We look forward to helping the boys in their studies as they return to school next month. At the moment we are still catching Fernando and Gerardo up to their grade level so that they will be ready for school. Best of all, we've lived like Hondurans for four years, so we know how to be compassionate to the primary parents.

I thank God for all the trials we faced in our first years. Without them, we could never have seen or felt what the poor here in Honduras and around the world (bad water, illness, hard work etc). And even still, we were far removed from dire poverty. We are still involved in the farm, indeed John would not miss gardening for anything. The boys still play outside together and go to the soccer field.


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