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4 Surprising Things I Learned Living in a Tiny Honduran House

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Guest post by: Lukas VanDyke

There’s little place to escape when you only have 360 square feet.

Suzy, Wilder and I  just passed the two week mark of our two month foray living in a tiny house in the mountains of central Honduras. We have been spending time visiting villages where the houses are all made of mud, have a single spigot in the front yard for water, and the bathrooms are a made of a couple blankets hanging around a bowl and pipe that drain into the river.

For us, however, although the space is small as you might note in the photos, we do have all the modern conveniences. Electric stove, fridge, sink, bathroom and shower etc.

What is interesting though, is that most of the things for our little house were brought in from America, shipped down in suitcases with missions teams one piece at a time. Things that are difficult to find here include doorknobs with locks that work, sinks and faucets that don’t leak, bathroom fixtures, curtain rods, or pretty much anything else that can’t be easily fabricated from scratch. There are some furniture stores, but since they also import a majority of their inventory the costs are exorbitant.  Want a curtain? You better know how to sew. Need a table? Well pull out your hand saw and try your hand at wood working. In fact after visiting over a dozen stores I just came to the conclusion that if I wanted a lamp I was going to need to make one.

So although our space looks very normal, it was quite the feat for the missionaries who put it all together. Each and every aspect needed to be shipped from the states and assembled together with the rest of the pieces fabricated by local craftsmen or visiting teams who came down here. No quick runs to Home Depot for a missing doorknob.

In fact one of the big things I have been working on here is building a lot of different furniture for various spaces. A few of the pieces I have been working on include the table, desks and lamp you see in our little house which after we leave will be used by visiting speakers when they come down. I’m also working on things for the dorms for students attending the seminary, and furniture for the offices and other ministry related spaces. If you’re interested in helping fund different projects you can click the link. The more wood I have, the more things I can make while I am here. 

But enough back story. What have I learned from living in a 360 square foot house?

  1. You can’t escape. There is no retreating to a far side of the house to be alone. You are there, husband and wife and child, forced to work out your differences and talk things through right away. Although this can be a little difficult at times (especially since Wilder can’t talk) It’s really good! It forces you to be one with each other and on the same page all the time! I recommend everyone try this.
  2. It’s easy to clean. At home I know it’s easy for us to let the dishes pile up. But when you only have three plates there is nothing to pile up. You need to wash them if you want to use them again. You also can’t just close the door and move into another room and leave your projects spread out. You need to clean up each and every project as you go. Two-thousand square feet also means two-thousand square feet to dust, mop, sweep and vacuum. Three hundred and sixty square feet means… well you can do the math.
  3. Simplicity is freeing! When you have one meals’ worth of dishes, one week’s worth of clothes, one shelf for books, a single coffee mug, and one chair for sitting, all of a sudden a lot of decisions related to stuff go away. You’re left  so much more free to LIVE YOUR LIFE instead of spending time managing all your stuff.
  4. You can still do ministry. So far we have had a number of meetings, Bible Study small groups, as well as coffee dates and meals with people here. Somehow it all seems to work. Just because your space is small doesn’t mean you can’t have people over! 

Over all for me I feel such a freedom from the chains of being tied to so much unnecessary things and space.  

It’s a breath of fresh air. 

– Lukas VanDyke

{Guest blogger & husband of Suzy VanDyke!}

Do you live in a small house? What are the struggles you face? What are the blessings you see? We would LOVE to hear from you in the comments below!

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