Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Today's Post Has a Very Special Appearance By...

Today we have some more photos of the RBC. And who do we have in the first picture? Is that? No, it can't be! 
Why yes, that is none other than the oft-mentioned but rarely heard from or seen Zachariah.
We don't get many photos of him, so in case you had forgotten what he looks like, here's a refresher.

 (He's the one in orange. Do you see him now?)

This used to be a Kingdom Hall. Now it's a safe place to keep all your old insulation and drywall.

This is my department. Don't they look hard at work? Yeah, I didn't think so either. It's a rough job but someone's gotta do it. 

A very sad thought occurred to me today. I may never actually see the finished product here. The project won't be over until at least February, at which point we intend to be in El Salvador. If we ever do come back to California, we aren't assigned to this Assembly Hall. 

So, it seems quite likely that I will miss out the completion. Unless one of my dear readers would like to send me updates. Cause that would be cool of you. 

At any rate, I hear the kitchen is coming down before we leave. That will be fun to see. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

RBC Update

Today I am back at the Assembly Hall project. Well, not exactly "back at" cause I feel as if I never leave. I'm really kinda upset we didn't move our trailer down here. It would be so much fun. When we were in New Orleans, my biggest goal in life was to live in a trailer on-site. Sigh...maybe next project.

Anyway, here are some photos of the progress today.

The Safety Department moved in next to our tent today. It's nice to have neighbors with a constant supply of cold water.

 This used to be the front of a Kingdom Hall. You can totally tell, right?

This is what the lunchroom looks like right now.

Sister hard at work making dinner...

And this is where the kitchen will be moving to in two weeks when the real demo starts.

The sea of trailers

The last photo is a brother on the kitchen crew. He has been all around the world with Disaster Relief and Construction work. He was interviewed at lunch a couple weeks ago, and it was very encouraging to hear. He said the reason he has been able to do so much is availability. He has never said no to an invitation and Jehovah has always given him the circumstances to make it work out. I thought that was a great example for us. How often do friends say they wish they could do something, but they don't have the circumstances? Sometimes you have to take that leap of faith, and Jehovah will work out the details. 

Status Update:
34 and 46 days til Colorado and Honduras respectively.
Still have to sell the car. Or total it. You know, whatever works.
I'm actually trying to learn Spanish. Hablo espanol un poco y entiendo muy poco.
We might start taking a TEFL course so we can teach English online.
I'm currently on a Southeast Asia kick. Trying to convince Zach project at a time.

I think that's it.
It's dinnertime on-site and everyone has disappeared into the dining room. Must be something good. It always is. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Visa Problems

We are way too busy. But it's all for good reasons, so it's working out.

Right now, I am doing double-duty at two Branch projects. I work Monday/Friday/Saturday at one project, and Tuesday/Wednesday at the other. The Assembly Halls are like 10 minutes from each other, which will be good next week when Zach goes back to work for his department. He's going to have to drop me off at one location, go to the other, come pick me up, go back to the other, then go home at some point, which requires passing by the first Hall again.
I want to move our trailer down to the site, know....that involves effort.

It's amazng how many friends come from all over for these projects. There's a ton from Colorado, but that makes sense, since the Aurora Assembly Hall just finished, those friends already know how to get things done.

Right now, Zach has some side jobs going, just that extra little push right before we leave. Plus, he has to finish his Scuba certification before August. We are going to take a trip to Roatan this time around, I'm making sure of it.

I am feeling a little less stressed about my to-do list than last time I posted. We have our plane tickets to Colorado, plane tickets to San Pedro Sula, and bus tickets to La Ceiba all bought. We have a ride from the bus station to our house, which is good since it will be really late at night when we get there. So getting to Honduras is figured out. Getting to El Salvador- not so much. We are waiting to get a recommendation on which congregation we should visit there, and after that I can start planning our border-hop. However, we do know what is happening after our 180 days, when it is time to make the visa run. Hello, Costa Rica! I was thinking a week long vacation would be nice, but now I'm starting to think we might just need to spend three months there too.

At some point, we should probably consider settling down...But thanks to the awesome lack of visa-getting information, I don't think that will happen. Here's the deal. Every country will let you stay about 90 days. Some will let you extend on a per-case and exorbitant fee basis. After that, you have to leave the country if you don't have a visa that says you can stay longer. So I say "Great, I want to stay longer, how do I get a Visa?" The embassy tells me "You are an American Citizen, you don't need a visa, you can stay 90 days." Ok, but I want to stay longer. How do I get a visa? "You don't need a visa." Yes, I do. "No, you don't"
You see where I'm going with this?

The other problem, is a lot of these countries also require you to know when you are leaving ahead of time. So if you go to immigration and say "I would like to stay for 6 months and I have not bought a plane ticket home because you people won't tell me for another three months if I can stay here or not" they may decide not to let you enter the country at all until you can prove you're leaving.

Now, where this gets extra confusing is when you try to travel between El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Guatemala. See, those countries have a pact to "make travel between neighboring countries easy" where you can pretty much border hop as much as you want for 90 days. Once those 90 days are up, however, you have to file for an extension- which you may or may not get- or leave all four countries for 72 hours. What that means, is we have to go all 90 days in Honduras, and on the very last day, get to the border of El Salvador and plead our case so they let us in. If they don't, we have to immediately buy a plane ticket to someplace far away, so that we don't run the risk of staying in the country too long and getting deported.

And I'm probably missing something important in all that.

Right so... 49 days until we leave for Colorado. 61 to Honduras.