The wake up call came after my first cup of coffee and I took a quick shower. This allowed Sean an extra 30 minutes of sleep and I am guessing all three boys needed the sleep. I went to the lobby and found Dennis the Defender Direct man waiting. I then called Chris and Brad to make sure they were up and around. Slowly but surely the crowd managed to arrive and we finally boarded our bus at around 7:05AM. Breakfast was at the YWAM/Homes of Hope campus and was actually fairly good, except I can’t eat bacon and it was the only meat this day. We received our last minute instructions and anxiously hopped in the bus that took us to our home site.
The Current Home
We arrived after bouncing over many a pothole and chugging up a hill that I though the bus might not make. The Blue Team poured out and we looked the existing “home” over and most of us kept our eyes turned down, realizing that this family actually lived in the shack next to the concrete foundation poured ahead of time. The wife and children came out and met us all and joined in the circle for prayer. Colby our construction leader and other staff went over the procedures and safety rules. Felipe said a prayer for our safety and the home we were building. Colby and Brody the assistant construction leader, immediately divided up the team into painters, framers and the woodcutting team. Sean got on the framers and Chris, Brad and I were the team on the saw, cutting all the various lengths needed to complete the walls, windows and door jambs.
Chris, Brad, Sean, Felipe leading the prayer with Reina, Ariel her son
We emptied the van of all the tools and supplies that were not already on site. All the wood had to be divided up and carried to various stations prior to any work beginning. The team did a great job and everyone that could, pitched in and carried something. The siding and plywood stacked over by the painters. The 2×10’s, 2×8’s and 2×6’s were stacked by the cutting team. The 1×4’s went to the framers who immediately started framing the trusses. Sean joined Brody and they started hammering away with this group.
Sean Nailing Trusses with Brody
Each station had sawhorses that acted as tables to lay the wood on for prep. Brad and Chris secured the saw to a a couple of 2×6’s, set a jig in place after a few small cuts and away we went. We (Brad, Chris and I got a routine going (I should say Brad and Chris, as I was just trying not to get in the way). They tacked a piece of a 2×4 at the exact mark that would allow each piece of lumber to be dropped into the jig and cut it to the appropriate size. Bright young men I must say! I think they have done this before. In no time all the wood had been cut and marked in red, as to the lengths.
Nomadic Texan with Chris on Saw
The framer teams nailed the two side walls together including the siding. Felipe our translator and really good carpenter put the middle wall together. We then lifted the two side walls and tacked the middle wall in place. I tacked 2×4 pieces to the side walls to provide support and stop the drifting. This was all done in a matter of an hour or two. I was astonished at the progress, the coordination, cooperation and organization of the Blue team! It was amazing.
Walls up with Middle Wall in Place
We then framed in the rear and front walls without the siding to get all four sides in place. I then climbed a ladder (against Kim’s direct orders) and tacked in the 2×4’s above the rear walls. I think Felipe did the front walls. The team then tacked the siding on the front and rear sides. Brad helped in the rear and I must say it was a precarious perch with only about 12″ of sand to work with and walk on.
Brad Nailing Siding and Trying Not to Fall Down the Hill
Now that the walls were all secured the trusses were brought in and Chris and Brody hopped on the top headers and started installing the trusses. I had to look away as it made me very nervous for Chris to be up that high, with literally no support or safety net. Another team started putting Sheetrock up around the interior walls. Brad was working with Felipe and I started working with them and Colby to some extent and we finished most of the Sheetrock except a few small places by lunch.
Front View at Lunch
I was on a step ladder and missed the second step on the way down. Tumbled head first into the concrete, scraped and bruised both knees badly. My pride was hurt more than my body I think! It was embarrassing to have the only injury of the build! Sean was elected to string wire and run the electrical in the house from the junction box to all outlets. This became a major task! Glad he knew what he was doing!
Sean Listening to the Other Old Guy Talk Electricity
In the morning talk, the lady mentioned that we should each try and ask the family what they would like about their new home and what would make them most happy. During lunch I asked one of the staff to translate for me and I asked Reina what would make her most happy about her new home. She stepped back and though a brief second and responded with “I will be so happy not to be wet anymore”. It was all I could do to maintain my composure. I thanked her and turned away, losing it completely. My eyes swelled with tears, as I realized how lucky I am and the fact I am never concerned about my “roof” leaking on a dirt floor.
Reina with her Son Ariel and an Unidentified Gentleman
It got to a point in the afternoon where I could no longer lift my right arm from so much hammering. Next time I must use a 2×4 piece ahead of the build and work my muscles up. I turned to the painting table and joined the fabulous Ruth in painting the plywood deck for the roof. I learned her former husband was a painter by profession and she taught me a few tricks about painting with rollers and with brushes. Needless to say all the paint did not get on the plywood and my arms were covered with white paint by the time we stopped and started packing up the tools and supplies.
Ruthless Ruth the 80 Year Old Trash Talker
Chris and Brody got all but two pieces of the roof deck in place. Brad and his team got all the exterior siding and all but a few last minute Sheetrock cuts in place. We were a tired but happy bunch of workers. We loaded all the tools into the van, placed all the extra wood and supplies in the house and nailed a piece of plywood over the door. By this time the windows were also in place. We loaded up and left for dinner at the camp. Dinner was the “Taco Man” and the staff raved about the quality of the tacos. They did not mislead us. We ate until we couldn’t breathe and left for the hotel.
The Taco Man
Sitting in the dining room I realized how tired I was and how emotional I got at Reina’s comment. This old man was ready for bed and I hit the hay without even taking a shower. Sean left and said he would see me later. It only took about 30 minutes and he came back and jumped in bed. It must have been about 7:00 PM. Were were both so tired that sleep came quickly. Wake up call left for 6:00 AM again and on to Day three!