I first went to Xualtez in early 1998 while doing an internship as a student at OU. After returning several times, the community gave me a piece of land on the eastern side of the village on the edge of the jungle. In 2000, I hired a few men to build me a simple, traditional hut of wood and palm thatch. I tapped into the community water system fed from a tower a few blocks away and began having traditional stone fence built. Over the past eight years I have finished my stone fence, planted coconut, almond, banana, orange, lime and other trees in my yard along with some medicinal plants. I attached a small room to shower in, got the house wired for electricity and had a concrete floor poured.
Before arriving this year, I had a wooden gate built where the opening of my stone fence the goes to the street. I also had roof replaced with new palm—it took 1,500 palmetto leaves! Finally, I had my “shower room” sided with boards and the tarpaper roof replaced with a metal one that now extends to cover a small section just outside my back door forming a tiny porch area. Below are a few recent pictures.