FULLER LIVING

Kaye
Hooker

GRANDVILLE, MICHIGAN

Kaye has led numerous Global Builders trips, mostly in Haiti. But her 15th trip took her to Nicaragua for the first time, and she went as a team member instead of a leader. She fell in love with the country and its people and says she can’t wait to return and build more homes.

About this series

“Fuller Living” features the people who make this ministry possible, talking about their experiences in their own words.

Kaye Hooker and teammates Joe McBride and Judy Guevara graciously shared images from last week's build in Nicaragua. At the end of this post is a gallery with more outstanding photos.

Veteran Global Builder insists her first experience building in Nicaragua definitely will not be her last

I had the pleasure of completing a Fuller Center for Housing Build in Leon, Nicaragua last week. It was my 15th Fuller Center build, and while it was my first build in Nicaragua, it will not be my last. In fact, I am already preparing to lead/co-lead a team next June.

While I was still in Leon, Chris Johnson from The Fuller Center asked me to write a blog about my experience. I am very honored to be asked and very pleased to share my awesome Nicaraguan experience. For anyone thinking about a build in Nicaragua, you will love it!!

While most of my builds with the Fuller Center for Housing have been as a team leader, this time I was able to experience the build as a team member. I was able to work with my friend and excellent team leader, Joe McBride. Judy Guevara was also part of the team and we had built together multiple times in Haiti. It was a bonus to be reunited with Joe and Judy. We joined seven more teammates to make a team of 10.

Everything about this build was awesome. This build was particularly important to me as I retired this year, and it is kick-starting what I hope will be a long retirement relationship with the Fuller Center for Housing. Now that I have been to Nicaragua, I know that many of my retirement builds will be in Nicaragua. In fact, my next build is in the works for June 2020. Nicaragua is a beautiful country with wonderful people, fantastic food, and amazing sites to visit in addition to having an outstanding in-country Fuller organization to help with the primary objective for being there — building homes.

Team members arrived on Saturday, and we had a tour of Managua that afternoon and evening. Sunday we had a two-hour bus ride from Managua to Leon and we visited the worksite and met the family for whom we would be building. The family — father Harry, mother Idania, and sons Santiago, Bryan, and little Harry — were at the worksite throughout the week and we all enjoyed working with them.

While we were all there to build a very deserving family a home, I always receive way more than I give. The feeling of being part of a team that provides a new home for a deserving family is not easily described. Wonderful, awesome and fantastic are words that come to mind, but somehow those words are not enough. The home that the family was living in before this new home was built was made from tin. The new home is solid and will last them forever. Many of the homes that we saw in the area where we were building were made from tin. Nicaragua certainly needs help with building secure and affordable housing, and The Fuller Center is assisting.

While we were 10 teammates working together, we had lots of help from locals and the local workforce assisted us with the masonry work. Danilo, the in-country coordinator for Fuller, and Alberto, an assistant and volunteer for Fuller Nicaragua, were on site regularly. During the week, Danilo’s sister passed away. We continue to think about Danilo and his family during this difficult time. (Fundraiser for Danilo’s family) During Danilo’s brief absence, Alberto continued to assist the team. The mason, Ricardo, and his assistant, Frank, were also assisted by others throughout the week.

The foundation was in when we arrived, so we spent the week getting the walls and roof up. The work was steady and we particularly enjoyed seeing the progress each day. I especially loved watching Idania (the mother) look at the home at the end of each day. She was so happy and extremely grateful.

While we were there to build, we also had fun throughout the week. Some of the team went dancing one night, another night a group went out to dinner and several nights people took walks in Leon and saw the sites. We also spent two nights at a beach hotel in Las Peñitas (where The Fuller Center first began working in Nicaragua) after the build ended. And, we had a wonderful celebratory dinner with the family and workers on Friday night. That night allowed all of us to celebrate in a relaxed environment and have conversations with the family and workers, which was a perfect way to end the week. On Saturday, while we were at the beach, Ricardo and his family joined us for most of the day, and Danilo and his wife joined us in the afternoon and evening.

While all of the team left on Sunday, except for me, Nicaragua seemed to want to keep me there. My flight was delayed until late in the day, Monday, due to storms in Houston. When I finally arrived in Houston, my flight home had long since departed, so I grabbed a hotel for the evening.

As the next day dawned for my flight home, I was driven to the airport in the hotel shuttle. The driver asked me if I had been delayed by the storms and I told yes and that I had come from Nicaragua the night before. Surprisehe was from Nicaragua!! We spoke about his life in the mountainous region of Nicaragua, where they grow coffee, and I spoke about The Fuller Center for Housing. When we arrived at the airport, I gave him a tip. He refused it and asked that I use it in Nicaragua. So, now I must go back!!

I highly recommend any of the Fuller Global Builders builds but especially recommend Nicaragua. You will have an amazing time building a home for a deserving family, see beautiful places, meet awesome people, and have some of the best food (tostones con queso were my favorite).

Thanks to my team leader, Joe, and all my teammates (Judy, Mary, Priscilla, Peter, Leng, Frederico, Roland, and Katrina) for making this build productive and fun. Thanks to the on-site Fuller people and workers (Danilo, Alberto, Ricardo, Frank, Francisco and Flacco) for all your help and for your friendship. Thanks to the Fuller Center for Housing for everything you do in the U.S. and around the world!! And, especially a huge thank you to the family (Harry, Idania, and kids) for allowing us to help build your home. Can’t wait to get back there in June and see them living in their home.

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