09 October 2005

Across The Street

It’s Sunday, and I really thought that the men and woman building the four story house across the way would have the day off. They didn’t. So now I know that they work seven days a week, from 7 in the morning until 5 at night.

They also live on the site, off to the right in a tin roofed lean-to. They have electricity and running water, and not much else. There is no outhouse that I can see.

In the evening I see the men in their shorts soaping down and hosing off. I don’t know what the women do. I was surprised to even see woman on a construction site. But they are there, hauling buckets of sand, bricks, and mixing concrete.

I think some of them go home in the evening, but there are around seven who stay. They gather wood to build a campfire and cook dinner. It appears to be a communal effort.

Yesterday, I saw one of the women hanging washed clothing on the fence that surrounds the site. Fortunately, the rain held off most of the day so their clothes should have dried.

At noon they break for lunch and sleep. Then right back to the building. It rains a lot these days, but they do not stop until the rain is really pouring.

I don’t know how long they have been working on this house or how much longer it will take to finish. I wonder if they have family and children and if they ever get to see them. I know they don’t eat enough food to sustain that type of labor in this climate. I know they are drinking the water we are not supposed to drink. I know that I would never have the strength and courage to survive in that life.