Friday, October 19, 2012

#9 To Build or Not to Build, That Is the Question

A real bucket brigade!  I had thought that was just the stuff of old westerns or Little House on the Prairie dramas, but we proved the value of a bucket brigade for moving freshly mixed concrete from the side of the house around to the back and up to the frame for the sill about seven feet above the ground.  This sill was the answer to the problem of concrete blocks becoming more and more difficult to keep level as they got higher and higher.  Build a perfectly level frame out of wood on top of the row of blocks, fill it with concrete, let it harden, then take off the frame and resume laying blocks.  Voila! 

Mark laying blocks

Brad, concentrating hard, trying to get the hang of it
Bucket girl hauling mortar

Derry bringing over more blocks
Mark getting instructions from Paul
Brad lugging more blocks
Mixing concrete right on the ground was a surprise to me.  Sand and gravel were shoveled into a pile and spread out into a relatively flat heap, then the dry concrete was sprinkled over the top and it was all mixed together.  The center of that dry pile was then scooped out so that it formed a ring more or less, and water was hosed into the center where it couldn't run off.  Then the really hard work began, as if the guys' backs weren't already worn out from shoveling all that heavy sand and gravel!  Depending on the amount of concrete being mixed, two or three or four men would mix that stuff until it was ready to be poured into the frame, not losing so much as a drop of the water.  Buckets at the ready, one guy with a shovel would slop a big scoop into a bucket and it would get passed down the row until the last person handed it up to the guy on the scaffold who poured it into the frame.  Full buckets moving in one direction, empty buckets moving in the opposite direction, making short work of what would be a very long day with fewer workers.
Dry ingredients first
Add water to the volcano
Stir til mixed well
Laying blocks is apparently a skill that requires considerable experience to master.  While I didn't get directly involved in it myself, I did spend a good bit of time observing.  If those blocks weren't so blasted heavy I think I could enjoy the process of mortaring in those babies and tapping them ever so carefully into alignment.  As I stood by and watched, I restrained myself from begging to be allowed to get in there and share the fun.  Instead, I passed tools, scraped excess mortar from outside seams, and cheered on Mark and Brad as they sweated both from the sun and from the stress of Arcardios' eyes boring into them as they worked.  It was a thing of beauty to watch those walls grow, and I was proud to be a part of our team even with my paltry contributions.
Me trying to be useful
Frame for the concrete sill is ready
Looking good!
Alpha Team after a morning of labor
On the other side of the village Regi, Roscoe, Pete, Henry & Kristi were digging a trench, pouring a concrete foundation, and building block walls for a closet on the back of a small house.  Our working environment was much better than theirs, as we had more space to spread out, and we didn't have to deal with the unpleasantness of an open cesspool in our work area.  But we couldn't have asked for better morale no matter the conditions.   

What a great bunch of people this was to be with on a mission trip!  Colossians 3:23 says, "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, " and that is exactly what they did.  In the entire week I never heard a word of complaint, a sign of laziness, or a self-centered action of any kind.  Servants of the Lord, every one.
Lady of the house cleaning up concrete mess off her entrance



  1. i think i would like that kind of work too. if i was strong enough. maybe if we start lifting 40 lb dumbells we'll be ready to handle it.
    it looks like you were able to wear shorts most of the time. that's nice that you didn't have to wear skirts while doing that kind of work.

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