Building Houses and Manicures at the Dump

There is nothing more thrilling than building houses in Honduras. They are what we call, “instant gratification.” That’s because in one afternoon you go from an empty dirt lot to having a home for someone. The family who’s getting the home comes and watches and everyone is happy, smiling and thankful. My friend John Henderson said after his first house, “I’d be happy building 2 houses everyday for the rest of my life.” Last week was a good week, we built a LOT of houses.  Marc Tindall says he gets about 11 requests each day for a house.  TORCH does not receive enough funds to build that many houses, but they do what they can when they can.

Houses are not always easy. Many times you have to carry the lumber up the side of a mountain to the place you’re going to build. All the people we built homes for were living in terrible conditions. Here’s Amber showing off her muscles.

A great picture of two doctors, Green & Darter, who did more than see patients.

Our girls weren’t afraid to get dirty and work. (Kristie, Amanda & Kristin)

John & Lonnie. FYI: If you build a home with John, make sure you don’t work directly under him. He may drop a hammer or himself on you. :)

Clay doing the roof.

An excited family has a new home. One of the things I love is that before we leave a home, we give them a “home kit.” Which consists of a box full of blankets, sheets, pots & pans, a teddy bear (if there are kids) and other things for their new home. That’s always so fun watching them open it.

I had to include this picture and tell you the story behind it. As you notice, it rains a LOT in Honduras. We got wet everyday. They finished this house just about the time the rain started. Everyone working, and the little family that was getting this new house, all ran inside to get out of the rain. As everyone sat listening to it rain, in a very dry house, the mother became so overcome with joy and emotion that she started weeping. Finally she and her family wouldn’t be living in a home where they were constantly getting wet when it rained. Needless to say, there wasn’t anyone with dry eyes in the house.

The dump.  I’ll be honest with you, I don’t like the dump. It is the complete opposite of building a house. When you finish building a house you feel good about what you’ve accomplished. You’ve given someone a home and everyone is happy. When you finish at the dump … you simply hurt and cry. It’s a place that lacks a lot of hope, but you can’t quit.   The good news is that there are plans, big plans, for bringing some hope to the Tegucigalpa dump. I can’t wait to tell you more. But in the meantime, we went to the dump twice last week to feed hungry, dirty people. Due to the heavy rains, the stench was worse than I had ever smelled.  But what really matters is that hungry people got fed.

I hate seeing children at the dump.

Here’s something amazing … I’m not sure it’s ever been done before, but the ladies broke out their fingernail polish and began to polish the ladies fingernails. They’d take a wipe and clean their hands and then paint their nails. All the woman were so excited to have their nails done … IN A DUMP! I can’t get past that.

The hand on the right belonged to a little old woman whose hands were so tired and worn out. At first she was embarrassed when the ladies asked to paint her nails, but she gave in and had hers done. As you can see in the following picture … she began to cry and then hugged all the ladies for her new manicure.  Heartbreaking that a woman her age would be found digging through trash at this stage in her life. But that day … she did it with pretty nails.

Thanks for letting me share with you about something that I’m very passionate about.

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Article by Trey Morgan

I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast. Read 1182 articles by
28 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Greg England says:

    The picture of the people inside the house during the rain, and the mother crying tears of joy because she will now be able to keep her family dry … that one brought tears to my eyes. Then the next picture of the ladies painting nails … brought a smile to my face. So I’m sitting here smiling with tears in my eyes! As many times as we did this kind of mission work in San Felipe, Rosarita, and Ensenada, Mexico, I don’t think we ever thought of the ladies pulling out the finger nail polish. What a GREAT idea! Your team builds FORTS with those 4×6 (they look like 4x6s) ceillng joists!!

  2. jasonS says:

    Aww man, you got me all emotional again. Thanks for sharing. Powerful and beautiful representation of Jesus here.

  3. That Girl says:

    Thank you for giving those women a little joy. I remember reading the story (in Sex God) about how a relief plane dropped lipstick into a concentration camp and that a woman was later found dead clutching a tube of lipstick.

    Even when life is difficult and the future seems bleak, every woman wants just a few minutes of being a princess.

    • Trey Morgan says:

      “Even when life is difficult and the future seems bleak, every woman wants just a few minutes of being a princess.” You’re exactly right.

  4. Stachia Washington says:

    I agree with John, I could build a house or two every day! Knowing that a family is sleeping somewhere dry and safe is the best feeling ever. Seeing the faces of the families, they are so exicted, a little embarassed, but extremely grateful makes being tired more than worth it. I don’t think I ever told you thank you, but thank you for putting our trip together.

  5. Jo Baird says:

    I have not had a special day until I read your blog and look at all of the pictures. They are all so precious. Not the poor, homeless starving people but at the hope and joy that are in the faces. Someone cared about them. God is good. Thank you!

  6. Char says:

    I don’t know why today’s post got to me more than the rest, but it did. Every time I get frustrated with something around here, I’m going to stop and think about the mom weeping with joy for a roof and a dry home. Thank you for sharing in such great detail about your week.

    Just curious – you may have already said in another post, but approximately how much DOES it cost to build a home for a family?

  7. Maggie Beth says:

    ……Just not happy until I am in tears, are you?

    The elderly woman


    My own mother is 70 yrs old – and is looking for a job in this economy. It scares me for her, and makes me sad that she “has to work to survive”. If that causes me fear ~ The thought of this prescious elderly woman in a dump sends terror through me. I can’t imagine what this woman endures. OH MY SOUL!

    God instilled in you, and all who go with you, very special gifts ~ not the least of which is courage.

    Honestly, I don’t know how you STOP crying…

    God’s continued blessings on all that you and your group do….

    Peace ~ Maggie Beth

    ((PS)) The photo of the 2 doctors??…That frightens me too…..Not certain who I am more scared for in that picture ~ the Doc balancing on a pail WITH A CHAINSAW! or the one UNDERNEATH HIM! (SMILE) ….and people do not believe in angels ~ I assure you there were angels holding on firmly to those two! (SMILE)

  8. nick gill says:

    Trey, posts like this are why I am working and praying for the opportunity to dedicate part of my life to serving the kingdom in Honduras.

    Keep reminding me of what’s going on on the front lines.

  9. Jennie Lee says:

    The finger nail polish got to me. Thanks for all you do down there. You know my heart is at the dump.

  10. Brittainy Taylor says:

    Once again I am in awe of everything that you and this group of people have done and continue to do. Each picture grabbed me in a different way. God has truly been working through you all for an amazing good that I cannot wait to be a part of next time.

    I spoke with Randy today and he told me about the manicures in the dump. The thought of it gave me chills and after seeing it I have tears in my eyes. Something that we do here that seems so small and simple was a huge deal to those ladies and young girls.

    Thank you for sharing, Trey.

  11. suzi hodges says:

    Awesome. Every time I read about ya’ll work I cry and a little part of my heart just blooms with joy. Keep it up, you are not just reaching them :)

  12. Nathan says:

    Incredible pictures. The lady in the dump where she got her nails done…
    that one really tugged on my heart strings.

    Thanks for sharing Trey!

    • Trey Morgan says:

      Those ladies were amazing …. cleaning hands and painting nails. We had one lady that blew bubbles for the kids. The kids loved them, and the adult men were just as excited. I saw them chasing bubbles trying to pop them.

  13. don says:

    Fingernail painting-the new “foot washing”? Just great and so awesome! Thanks for going there and making the lives a bit better!
    This rocks!

  14. DianneR says:

    What an awesome trip for all ages, but these young people are having the experience of a lifetime……one they will never forget. I feel sure the sights, the sounds, and even the scents of Honduras will always be with them and perhaps even give them direction on their path through life. Thank God for everyone who participated!

About Me

Trey Morgan Here are my thoughts about marriage, family, raising children, humor, faith and the life God intended for us all. I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast.

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Trey Morgan
Husband, father and cancer survivor & Senior Minister for the Childress Church of Christ. Tweets about life, marriage, Texas Rangers and randomness.
  • good list. Don't forget Nickelback, OJ, ISIS and beer-throwing Blue Jay fans.
  • He was pretty tough to listen to as well.
  • As crazy as it might sound, Chris Collinsworth just might be worse to listen to than the song Christmas Shoes.
  • Please remember that some Christmas music is incredibly offensive to people with grandmothers who actually were run over by reindeer.
  • Unfortunately, not a great night for "bobcats." :)

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