Friday, December 9

Tying it all Together

I've learned a lot of new Spanish words while doing construction. Lots of times the word itself isn't really new, it's just being used in a way that I'd never heard of before. Cuchara, for example, means spoon. In construction, though, it's the trowel used to throw mescla (mortar).

Another example is the word cadena, which I've mentioned before. The cadena, which is literally translated "chain", runs horizontally along the top edge of the construction to strengthen the walls. Every few meters, vertical posts called castillos (castles) rise up from the piso (floor) to the techo (roof). The cadena is poured along the top of the tabique (bricks) and connects all the castillos. This process holds the structure together and makes the building incredibly strong.

Our goal was to get the building ready for a roof -- and by November 10, we were very close!!!

With the tabique laid, all the men could focus on preparing the wooden forms.
Doug's special assignment was to connect 4 inch bolts to the metal in the cadena which will be used to attach the roof.

Have I mentioned how hard our young men have worked? Every day, they are up with the dawn, getting their chores and schoolwork done early so that they can devote the rest of their day to hauling sand, gravel, tabique and bags of cement up to the back hill -- and delivering coffee and making runs to the store for Coke and potato chips, too! A couple of the boys were staying up till 10 or 11pm to finish Algebra homework and getting up at 5 to do chores. Dedication! I sure love and appreciate my teenagers!!!

Once all the wood was attached, secured and double-checked for level, it was time to pour the cement.
Bucketful by bucketful the concrete was moved from the mixer to the wheelbarrow to the scaffold to the top cadena.

On November 14, the wooden forms were removed, the site cleaned up and the very-important-basketball hoop was installed. The men celebrated the completion of the walls with a couple of games of 3 on 3.

Taking it to the Next Level

With the lower 2 meters (about 6 feet) of walls finished and the cadena (in English it's literally "chain", it's similar to a header) poured, it was time to set the level of the top meter of wall. Although Julio really doesn't like heights, he took his place on top of the wall.

Here is Andrew helping Alfredo heft bricks to the andamio (scaffold). This picture was taken the day after a load of bricks toppled off the andamio, missing Andrew's head by only a few inches. From what I heard, no one had ever seen him jump so fast! You can see how the tabique (bricks) are piled on either end of the andamio. Somehow, one of those stacks toppled over. This is why we pray protection over the worksite and the workers every day!
Chuy and Joaquin stopped in several times during the past month to help with hauling and mixing and whatever else was needed. The walls grew quickly and by November 8th, the guys were almost ready to start pouring the top cadena.

The last of the brick work was completed November 11. Hurray!!!

The Slippery Slope, Part 2

We finished the ramp a couple of weeks ago -- construction has continued at a very brisk pace, even though our internet came to an almost complete standstill. I kept taking pictures, though, so here are some pics of the last section of the access ramp!

Quite an improvement from the 2x12 board balance on the stack of bricks!!!