2013 Sept/Oct Mission trip (week 6)

07Oct2013

This is week 6 of this mission trip.  Click for other weeks:
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Monday, Oct 7:  Abel arrived and looks like today is the big day of wrapping things up.  There is one last place on the stairs for tarrajeo work, have to do all the plumbing of the water lines today, and layout the electrical tubes, hoping in preparation for starting to pour the concrete floor the next few days.  

Our water source will for the first time come through our roof located water tank.  This cut will source the main water line from the roof, after which when hooked up, we will have 24 hours of running water (or as long as the roof tank can supply, whichever comes first!! ;-)

We will have to run to the market to get the water lines as well as the floor concrete.  Hopefully by mid week, we may have 24 hour running water in our casita, actually putting our water tank on the roof to it's intended task, not just as a construction water source!! ;-)

Water lines are being run, connections are being made.  We will be postponing the installation of the cistern in the back until another trip, and plumbing right past it to the tank on the roof.  In the future, the cistern will be the first receptor of city water and will keep the tank on the roof full with a ground level pump, doubling the capacity of the water reserve.  We will install that on another trip.  

Interesting how they make so many cuts in the wall for the plumbing and electrical here.  Since the walls are concrete and brick, this is not an easy or even clean process, and requires additional tarrajeo work when complete to cover the cuts.   The picture on the right took a lot of work removing a lot of brick and tarrajeo to put in the low voltage box and tubes.  Will take a lot of work to close it in again.  Oh well, progress comes sometimes as two steps forward, one step back.  

Pastor Martin did call and wanted to come out tomorrow or Wednesday, but we discouraged him until next Monday, assuming we will at least have a floor by then.  Purpose of Pastor Martin's visit is primarily to initiate church services out here on Sunday which is very much what we would like as an accomplishment from this trip.  Let's hope for a productive week of construction.

Tuesday, Oct 8: Lily didn't get a lot of sleep last night so I tried to cover for her in my best broken spanish as the questions came from Abel and his crew, as well as our lunch delivery.   Also, this morning we had our third EARTHQUAKE since being here, although not anyway like the September 25th one, short and sweet, but definitely letting us know who rules!!

Anyway, before Lily laid down for a needed nap, we had a long discussion with Abel over the sewer "Registro" he was constructing out front.  As he described how it worked "the pipe from the 2nd floor sewer will connect into an open box sewer and free flow into the exhaust pipe".   We wondered, of course, why?   

This is the concrete sewer 'register' that was on the architectural plans (drawing on left) for us to install 3 of on our property.  One was to be at the rear of the property, one in the front and one actually in the middle "insides"!!!   I have to wonder if this was done with a 'sound mind'.  See prior picture (on right), of what the city/district has at the street, which is a copy of this in real use.  Basically, under a heavy cement lid, you have an open pipe between two pipes.  This is for access?  

So, according to our architect, we are supposed to have free flowing sewage just a concrete 'lid' away from us inside our property and two more similar registers outside???   We were having Abel, our contractor, move forward with this (not the inside one, even Lily said no to that a long time ago), but after looking and wondering, and even searching the internet as to 'why', we decided it's a NO.  We will just put normal screw-in clean-outs like we do in the states, no open cement box sewer flow, sorry.  We will deal with the architect on this later.  Moving on to other decisions.

Anyway, Lily's off to a well needed nap.  We were going to run to Maestro today to get a ton of cement for the floor pour but that can wait till tomorrow.  She did run to a metal shop yesterday with our window/door man, who needed more material for the fabrication he is undertaking.  Hopefully by end of week we can get the front double door in, perhaps at least one of the main front windows.  He has a lot of work ahead of him yet.  Here is the sketch that we have been working with.  We started with a pattern book of his and although there are hundreds of different patterns including some interesting ones with musical notes, guitars, condors, yadda, yadda, you can not find a single church or christian theme pattern.  So, we designed our own.  Looking forward to it being made.  Of course then we need to get the glass man out to add glass to it.

Well, today was a somewhat productive day.  Abel and one other worker were at it, and I assisted.  Abel finished the plumbing.  His worker did a lot of tarrajeo re-do, over late addition outlets, low voltage panel pipes, water pipes, etc.  I started running the tubes for the low voltage and then Abel took the last four tubes for regular electric.  He and I did the kitchen and we even pulled all the wires!  Our first wiring.  So, we are out of lots of stuff again so off to the market in the morning, hopefully with a refreshed wife.  we need 80 bags of cement (mostly for the floor), two bundles of electrical tubes and elbows, a pair of shower valves, some more plumbing parts, a couple of electrical fixtures, a half dozen power breakers, and 2 dozed stackable chairs (have to start thinking church soon!!).  Hopefully, Abel and his worker will get some more cuts and tarrajeo done, fix that stupid sewer box thing in the front, maybe even pull wires for the bedroom while waiting for us.  Hope to get back as soon as possible to keep the momentum.  We also need to get a load of dirt delivered for the concrete mixing.   Hard to find a place for it with the road construction ... but such is life on the site!  

Lily woke up to see Abel off, she will get another nights sleep and hopefully feel refreshed in the morning.

Wednesday, Oct 9: Took us awhile to get to the market today as we first walked up to touch base with our window/doorman, Miguel.  In walking back, since it became apparent we were not able to get a collectivo where we were, it took us awhile with all the roadwork going on in the village to find where the traffic was being routed.  Saw Abel again before actually finding a collectivo, and he was a bit frustrated wondering how far behind this village road construction was going to set him on our job and other jobs, if he could not get supplies.  We eventually got a collectivo out of the area.  Getting back in was not going to be as easy but more on that in a minute.   

We got to Maestro our usual collectivo/taxi method, and did find one of our usual friendly delivery men, who also happens to be a bible believing christian we have gotten to know before.  The other good news was that he drove the smaller of the two delivery trucks we usually use, large enough for our load, but small enough to have better luck in the village in it's current state.  We talked to him a bit about what we were picking up and confirmed his availability.  We were wondering if we would have to have the concrete delivered late in the day, after 5 with all the construction going on, and confirmed with our driver that he could do that.   While shopping, we also talked to Abel and he stated that the construction teams go to lunch at 1pm so we figured that would be a good time to make our delivery.  We got 80 bags of cement, two packages of electrical tubes, elbows, two door locks, 5 florescent fixtures, electrical breakers, etc.   We were planning to wait a bit so we could make our 1pm arrival, but decided to try it a little earlier and wait closer to town (our driver still not knowing what the situation in El Carmen was).  We also thought we would take advantage of the delivery and get a couple dozen plastic chairs at Plaza Vea (grocery/merchandise market) across the street, but they only had 9 left!  drat!  next truck!  Anyway, off we got about 12:10 for our 30-40 minute drive.  

Having first tried the west side of the village and finding out that was not good for any truck, we had to back up and go around the village.  Abel joined us, jumping on the back of the truck as we then drove around the village from the east, before eventually coming in from the north and taking down a big yellow ribbon blocking the center of town so we could get to the ... well, the center of town where the mission is!    
Finally making it, and no earth movers were busy at the time (they were all blocking the road on the south while the drivers were off to lunch).  We were able to unload.  Happy day!!
 
This being our third delivery of cement on this trip, with a total of 80 bags, give us a total of 175 bags so far, at 45.5kg each (90 pounds) .. that's a lot of cement.  We get our dirt and gravel delivered tomorrow to mix with it .. where to put that .. hmm, that's tomorrow's problem (Gone with the Wind reference?).
 
With the cement delivered and unloaded as well as all the other items, mostly electrical related, I got to work with Abel on wiring again.   Plan was to get all the ground wires, both 220 electric and low voltage (internet/TV), pulled before pouring the floor.  I don't think a separate electrician could have figured out Abel's conduit scheme as easy as Abel himself doing it, so even though the actual pulling of the wires was not part of his contract, he sort of realized that it made sense to pull the wires before pouring the concrete .. while the tubes were still visible.  Although it added time to the job and postponed the concrete pouring a bit, it would have been even more of a delay to have a 3rd party come in.   We ended up finishing most of the wire pulls on the west side of the building (kitchen, two bedrooms, office, hallway), so we can probably move forward with the pour of the floor on that half tomorrow.  Let's see how the dirt/gravel delivery scheduled for the morning occurs, and also if we can do the final prep.  New problem is that we are out of electrical tubes again so we need to go back to town tomorrow as well for more.   Abel said that the dirt will be here first thing in the morning, like 6:30, so he will try to get here early to meet it.
 
After the workers left, Lily and I looked at the driveway and the mess that the construction on the road left it, and thought there is no way we can get a delivery of sand in the morning.  We spent a few hours, just the two of us, moving a lot of dirt, filling in the city left major hole in front of the mission where a major water valve is.  We built a chimney with old blocks so the valve was still accessable.  Actually we made the road in front of the mission the cleanest it's ever been.  Ended the day with Lily and I watching another Netflix movie before going to bed.  Even with 1mb internet, it still works, it just gives you some built in intermissions 3 or 4 times during the flick to catch up !! 
 
Thursday, Oct 10:  "Morning of Chaos" we will have to call this morning, a five way 'perfect storm' to add to the normal daily construction chaos we have signed up for.   My dear wife was up at 6 am, I joined her about 7.  She was busy clearing again the front area within the gates with the hope of having a nice clean pile of sand delivered, purchased for S/300, about $110.  She was already observing the normal (chaos #1) new problem we have endured the last few weeks, with the road and sewer construction.  Chaos item #2, which was just bubbling under the surface at this time, was a broken water main accross the street which had cut our water supply for the day (chaos item #3).  
 
When I joined her, the truck was there waiting for our contractor, Abel, and it was obviously NOT going to be 'small' pile of sand based on the size of the truck, 10 cubic meters sounds nice and compact but it is a large amount.   When Abel did arrive with his crew, we negotiated with the truck driver to at least dump it within the gates, but somehow (chaos item #4) we failed to communicate to dump it deeper within the gates, since at this moment we cannot now close them!!! 
 
Returning to the leak repairs (item #2), the initial escavations by the government workers were no problem for our sand delivery but they were very long and deep when our next delivery arrived, gravel (8 cubic meters costing S/440, ~$160).  They presented one of three obstacles for this delivery and hence we have chaos item #5 - the gravel truck driver was not the best at manuevering his vehicle between the much larger trench that the water work was doing, and a very high manhole cover and another water valve below the ground, which is where we wanted the gravel delivered the other side of.  So he did the best he could and dumped it on the sidewalk and street right on top of the water valve.  Great.  Now, Abel's workers not only had to get the sand pile pushed within the gates by end of day, so we can close the gates, but they also had to move the 8 cubic meters of gravel from the street and sidewalk to where it was supposed to be dropped.   Satan get behind me, we took all that you gave us this morning and we are still moving forward building God's house!!  Say Halleluea!!  
 
In all this, I did complete the low voltage wiring in the back half of the mission.  Abel and his crew need to do some leveling and compacting of the ground before pouring the floor.  Lily was helping as well.  We still have a good deal of wiring to pull in the main meeting room, the front half, as well as all the ceiling lights.  We got off to Ica late at about 3:30 for another merchandise run with a few errands.  Finally got some spanish flyers printed in town.  Enjoyed learning some more spanish from a rapid talking 9 year old who didn't care that I couldn't understand him as he told me all about his video games.  I shared a spanish tract on John 3:16 with him and he really liked it.  
 
Lily got her DNI address changed to the mission in Peru, and we made it to Maestro (our super hardware store) for yet another three packages of electrical tubes and miscellaneous items.  Inquired about 'mesh' for the concrete floors but was told that they only use small rebar (lots of it) for large areas of concrete, no mesh is available.  Did get to experience an Ica wide earthquake drill while at Maestro, where all the workers and customers gathered in the parking lot for a minute.
 
Got a taxi with our electrical supplies to take us to the collectivo stand, and then home again.  One more full day.
 
Friday, Oct 11:  Got ready for a full day of work.   Discovered we got the wrong electrical tube size!  great ... what a bonehead move.  Didn't realize there were so many types of 3/4 inch electrical tubes to choose from !!!  groan!  Will have to return 2 of the 3 packages, and use the one we opened some how for stand alone runs.  Such an easy mistake to avoid and I didn't ... back to town this afternoon.   A great deal of measuring for the floor pour was done by the workers yesterday in our absense, and discussion this morning with Lily about perhaps making the floor higher because of all the tubes.  I believe the result was to trench more for the tubes and not use more concrete to cover for insufficient trenching.    
 
Got a collectivo, again on a side street since the main road was roped off again.  I had to hold my electrical tubes outside the window as the driver did as well, since the car was a rather small one.  We did talk the driver into changing from collectivo (shuttle) mode to taxi, and to take us direct to Maestro for our needed exchange.  He even volunteered to wait and return with us.  (I was hoping that he would find a short piece of rope before we did that since my arm was really tired when we got there!!   Anyway, did a quick turnaround, and this time we threaded the long tubes through the passenger window into the backseat and I had to hold them out that window rested against the road mirror.  Not as tiring but I was still looking forward to the end of the dirt roads and a return to the mission!!! ;-)
 
With not a lot to do without the tubes, the team was rather dispersed, doing some terajeo work here and there in the morning but other jobs needed attention until we got back.  So we basically lost a half day but got back productive again in the afternoon, finishing up all remaining wiring in the west (back) half of the mission, ready for pour hopefully tomorrow.  They did a lot of measuring and marking for the floor pour while we were gone so I guess it wasn't a total loss of a half day after all. 
 
We did an attempt to power the whole mission up, by running a line to the electrical box, but something was in the way in the conduct tube for that main (#10) pair of cable between the meter and our main power box.  Tomorrow Abel will bring out a steel fish-tape to see if we can determine what and clear it.   Would be nice to get some lights and power outlets working, lots of those items we can do ourselves, once we have the lights at night to see with.   Tomorrow's another big day, looks like there are plans to also work on Sunday, and this will be the first Sunday we work since being here but time is running out.
 
Saturday, Oct 12:  An new day, a good day for a concrete pour!!  Someone yesterday (or the day before) shut the valve off for water in our casita, but we got it back on today .. pesky construction site, one never knows who left what tool where and why someone did something you discover the next day.  Oh well, got it in time to get most of the roof tank filled.  The concrete pour will need a lot more than we can supply though, so they did make arrangements with the village to get a direct feed of water for the concrete work today.  The plan is to do the west side (bedrooms, kitchen, bathrooms, office) first, and then the next day (or so) do the big meeting room and front area.  Before we do the pour today, I took a couple of pictures of the 'freeway' system of water lines, electrical lines, low voltage lines (TV, internet, communication), that run mostly through the hallway and the office.  
 
The pour begins.  Last time we had a major pour, there were about 20 guys, each with a 5 gallon bucket, running up to the roof and that was how we left the job last April.  This time, probably because it's ground level, the buckets are replaced with two wheelbarrows, but only two guys hauling, two guys mixing and Abel doing the actual spreading.  They should be done with this half of the building probably in an hour or two at the rate they are going.  That should leave the afternoon for us to get the other half of the building ready for tomorrow's pour.  
 
Finally, after every square inch of floor (first half of mission) is covered by painstaking detail, it is then worked over again with a dry cement only mix into every square inch, and then again with a liquid cement/water mixture for every square inch a third time!  A painstaking process by hand, but half the mission is done.  Tomorrow is God's day of rest, and the workers deserve it as well.  Back to work on Monday doing preparation of the other half of the mission, and pour and painstaking repeat of process on Tuesday.  Hallelueah!!   The preparation will include some rebar that we have, since it is a very large room in comparison to the many smaller rooms done today.  That together with a lot of wire pulls yet to do, and the leveling process they go through, it will be a pretty full Monday.
 
Abel and his crew did a great job today, a full day.  Doing all this is labor intensive, there is no pump, truck, gasoline trowel machines, etc.  Everything from the mixing, pour, polish and finish was done with a lot of elbow grease only.  We have one great crew that Abel has put together.
 
We picked up a bunch of spanish brochures on the mission yesterday.  We are thankful we only did a few hundred as we have already found a few typos, but we really needed something to give to people about the mission as we anticipate opening really soon!!  Lily and Palilly, one of our regular helpers, here at the table.
 
 
Sunday, Oct 13: Good morning JesusCristo!!  Got up with the 6am water pipes running.  We did some plant watering, made sure the water tank was full, had hot showers, and just enjoyed the beautiful cool spring morning at the mission, listening to gospel music.  Hoping to catch a collectivo to Ica for worship services this morning.  
Actually had a wonderful Sunday service at El Shaddai church, with an interesting little girl that set next to me that I had to take a photo of.  We had a brief discussion with Pastor Martin, our Peruvian board member of LAMA regarding his visit this coming week, convincing him that Wednesday is better than Monday due to all the concrete pouring.  Had some other business matters to discuss, and actually went to their home to finalize a few things.  When leaving Pastor's sister-in-law invited us to stay for a large family meal, and we got a wonderful spread with some great company.  Cotty's family is large and apparently very focused in the Ica area, where Pastor's family is more located in Lima.  
 
 
 

This is week 6 of this mission trip.  Click for other weeks:
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