Construction continues in La Colmena

10th August 2013

My home in La Colmena Abajo is a busy place, if such a thing exists in this tranquil hideaway in the Miraflor Nature Reserve. Children weave in and out amongst chickens, dogs and the odd kitten. Our host-mother, Anajulia, shoos the animals away as she brings our meals, which typically include rice and beans, eggs, and for a treat, some plantain chips and a crumbly ´feta-like´cheese.

Served with coffee, the carbs keep us going throughout the day as we work on the construction site of the soon-to-be community centre. Here the village will host community activities and events, be able to discuss matters of importance and have better access to services available to them.

Starting at 8am in the morning, we walk the short distance to receive instructions from our local construction expert – Noel. So far, he and other members of the community have directed us in cement-mixing and bricklaying. He is such a good teacher that at the end of our first week here, we have almost finished construction of the walls for the community centre!

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The last few days have been disrupted by rain, and construction has been forced to take a temporary halt. In the meantime we have turned our attention to activities within the community. They´re keen to learn English, and we want to improve our Spanish so we´ve had lessons of both during the inclement weather.

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During a brief break in the rain, we walked up to a nearby village where they grow coffee. We learned about how the coffee is processed, and the agreement the farmers have with the local co-operative which ensures they receive a fair price for their crops.

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As the days pass, and we learn more about the community  and we see the true spirit of the place. La Colmena is a village where the focus is on family, friendship and hard work. 

In the rain, we shelter in our respective homes along with the women of the families, whilst the men work outside. Everyone becomes separated and this is when we see one of the most important things a community centre will bring: a place where everyone can be together!