During February and March of 2010, volunteer forces once again convened to work wonders on the grounds of Education and Hope’s after school program.  Two experienced builders from the US, Pat MacDonald from Bellingham, WA, and my husband, Gordon Lagerbom, inspired a group of university students in our scholarship program to form a volunteer crew.  Under the leadership of mason Domingo Garcia, they built a rooftop studio to house our new Health and Wellness Center.  It is my hope that this beautiful space will serve as a refuge for so many of our program participants who have experienced physical and emotional traumas.

  We plan to offer meditation, yoga, healing therapies, dance and martial arts.  I am incredibly moved not only by how willing this crew was to enthusiastically volunteer their labor to Education and Hope, but also by how they were all so visibly impacted by this opportunity to give back for what they have received.  In the next post I will share some of the thoughts expressed by the project participants but for now I wanted to share a few of the images from the construction process.

First day, carrying cement blocks up three flights of stairs.







Truckloads of sand and gravel were shoveled into 75 lb.

sacks and were hauled one by one up the three flights of stairs as well!







             The pile of sand grows slowly.                     Oscar takes a well-deserved rest.



Demolition with hand chisels

is a slow process.

Pat skillfully laying each block by hand.

The view behind him is the top of the cathedral in the central park.

Mixing concrete, building and pouring the columns.

Gordon with Erick, Lucio and Joel.

Joel and Jaime channeling through
the concrete walls to bury tubes that
will house the electrical wiring.

Team work.

Don ‘Mingo at tree top level, sawing off the end of a beam.

He certainly doesn’t seem to be afraid of heights!

Pat, Joel and Erick working nailing the machimbre down over the beams.

Roof is almost done, time to cover the cement blocks with concrete.

(Even I couldn’t resist!)

              Super-smooth finished walls, ready for paint.

Priming and painting, even in the hard to reach places!

Many additional volunteers came out to help paint on the weekend.

Thanks to Conor, Lorena, Nery, Jose, Pedro, and Carlos.

After an exhausting weekend of concrete and paint, a very dirty but very happy crew!

Painting is done so time to

install the windows and then the flooring.

At last!  This beautiful rooftop studio

with the breathtaking views is finished.

Outside, before and after.

Inside, before and after,

with the afternoon sunlight still pouring through.

Very special thanks to our amazing crew, 

we couldn’t have done this without you!

Pictured from left to right:  Joel Tucux, 

Domingo Garcia, Pat MacDonald, Lucio Ixcoy, 

Gordon Lagerbom, Erick Maldonado and Jaime Tzoc.  

Missing from the photo is Oscar Diaz.