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On Thursday, we had come to love the dirt – Half day of work then Beach/Mercado Day
Today was a short day. Since my team was at a different site than we were yesterday, today consisted of making sure the chicken wire is tight, completing the roof, and putting in windows and door(s). After lunch it was time to head to the Mercado or the beach!
By Wednesday, we had come to depend on the dirt – The House Takes Shape Day
Today, in my opinion, is the most exciting day of the week because you get to see the house take shape. As soon as all of the frames have been assembled and the boards have been put on the roof, it’s time to chicken wire, tar paper, and then chicken wire the house. Doing this makes it easy to put the stucco on the house. The trick with the chicken wire is to make it as tight as possible, if the chicken wire is loose the stucco will have a very hard time drying to the house.
On Tuesday, we got used to the dirt – Framing Day
Framing day is important and critical because if one frame is off, that will put off the whole house. The saying measure twice, cut once comes in handy on this day. There are 9 frames we must build, 2 for the roof, 4 for the front and back of the house, and 3 rake walls. Rake walls by far are the trickiest to build since the tops are angled (for water to run off the roof) and if you get it off by a hair then it needs to be rebuilt. Today you are either hammering away or you are sawing away or maybe even a combination of both. If you have never held a hammer before in your life by the end of this day you are a pro. Becoming a pro might mean a few sore thumbs or fingers in the process but nonetheless you are a pro at the end of the day.
On Monday, we hated the dirt – Concrete Day
First day of building houses is always a surprise because you never know what you will have to work with, property-wise. Fortunately, the site I was on for the first day was great! The land was relatively flat and they already had an existing concrete slab under their existing house so adding a new concrete slab would be no problem. Too bad I can’t say it was the same for the other two houses. There are lots to do during concrete day so everyone is doing something. Jobs include; sorting the lumber (figuring out which pieces are completely straight and which pieces have a wrapped effect), sifting through the massive sand/rock pile (we use the sifted rock for the concrete mix), and setting up the perimeter for the concrete slab. Once the perimeter has been established then the concrete mixing began. Concrete day by far is one of the messiest days of the week because of the manual mixing. We have 4-5 tubs with 2 people and 2 hoes at each tub, they are the mixers. We have 1 or 2 wheelbarrows that transports the mixed concrete to the slab. We have at least 3 people preparing the concrete to be dumped at each tub; 1 person running the wheelbarrow full of concrete and rock to a tub, 1 person scooping rock into the wheelbarrow, and one scooping cement mix into the wheelbarrow and adding fiber. We have 2 people with a 2x4 on the slab to ensure the slab is smooth and the rocks are being hit to the bottom. Finally, we have the site boss who directs where the wheelbarrows full of concrete are dumbed. Once the process is started with concrete we do not finish until it’s all done. Last year I partook in ensuring the slab was smooth which did a number on my knees so this year I brought my volleyball knee pads to make ...
On Saturday, March 25th, it was time to load up the trailers and vans and make our way to Puerto Penasco, Mexico. When we arrived in the afternoon on Sunday, we had to start setting up camp which included pitching tents, setting up tables and chairs, and most importantly help set up the cook trailer. Before I begin you should know that everything completed this week was built by many hands and no use of electricity. *For the next 5 entries, the headers are taken from a Mexico Mission Trip T-shirt from 2011.