smash hit

A youth group was coming down from the states so we had to come up with something for them to do. It took a little thinking but my husband finally had a bright idea: picnic tables! There are benches at Bezaleel and there are tables, but rarely are there tables with benches. Also, there are wide porches at the school, but nowhere to sit down. This has bothered us since the very beginning: we need places to sit and visit! The youth group would be coming with some money for a project, so after running the idea by the people in power, my husband ordered enough wood for four tables.

It only took a couple days to make them and they turned out gorgeous: large, spacious, and back-breakingly heavy (thanks, in part, to the still-wet wood) so that they can’t “walk off.” Nobody here had ever heard of picnic tables before. For lack of a better name, we’ve taken to calling them mesas del campo (country tables).

Everyone is in love with these tables. Like, crazy in love. One of the parents took pictures of them and wondered how much they cost. Kids keep pointing out places on campus where they need a table. In assembly this week, the director had to explain to the students that no one class owns their own table—rather, they are for everyone to share.

This little misunderstanding is probably my fault. After baking class
last week, I told the girls that the tables were really heavy, but if
they could carry one up to their dorm, they could have it. 

By “they” I meant the entire girls’ dorm, but they took my words literally. (Oops.)
They strained and squealed and lifted and bit by bit that table moved up the hill.
After watching them struggle a bit, my husband took some boards over so they could lift it more easily.
We could hear them screaming and laughing the whole way up the road.

There was some money leftover from the visiting group, so my husband is making two more tables this week. (When I called to check on his progress, he reported that he had already made one. It took him two-and-a-half hours.) The school leaders want him to make six more at the end of this month.

Way to hit the ball out of the park, honeyman!


  • Anonymous

    Pure inspiration! Recognizing a genuine need and filling it — and showing others how to do it when you are no longer there. I am thinking that you and your family will leave behind a fine legacy. (And beautiful pictures too, Jennifer! Beautiful colors and so much joy…) ~Sherry

  • Susan

    I love the pictures of "the girls" moving their table up the path. They are so lovely – the colors are wonderful! Great idea!

  • beckster

    No kidding about hitting the ball out of the park! These tables will become part of the local lore, and so will the really nice people who made them.

  • Suburban Correspondent

    Weird how you never know just what will hit a nerve, right? Maybe that's the good in your being there – you couldn't have determined that need/desire from here in the States.

  • Margo

    oh, this is so cool! I love the good cross-pollination of ideas between cultures!

    I don't think I ever told you that I figured out OUR youth group had been to Bezaleel recently (not this year). I love this connection.

    I also had a dream about your family last night, that you had come for a few days to pick things up from your house, and then were returning to Bezaleel. You acted as if you had never left the States. It was a funny, good dream.

  • the domestic fringe

    That's pretty fabulous. Just want to say, if those girls got that table all the way up the hill, they deserve to keep it!

    They look wonderful. I want one too. 🙂

Leave a Comment