Day 3: Tuesday, 10/19/04
Sunrise over Vida Nueva Mission near Piedras Negras, Mexico. This is all the further the sun had made it up before we'd eaten breakfast and were starting to leave for our job sites, which was about 7:30 am.
The mornings are cool and pleasant, just warm enough for shorts and T-shirts. It isn't too hot in the morning, and there seem to always be clouds to keep the heat down. But after lunch, wow, look out, it gets downright hot. We think that northern Mexico got all of the 90-degree days Indiana didn't get this summer! We kept well hydrated and tried to work in the shade as much as we could. But today it was so hot that we had to knock off early.
Vida Nueva built a new clinic building to serve the community. The structure is built, but now it needs to be finished. Some crews are applying stucco and paint, but one crew built cabinets and spent some of today installing them. At right are Jim Barker, Bruce McDaniel, and Matt Miller. Jim and Bruce are part of the Hazelwood Christian Church crew who built and installed the cabinets. Matt was simply ordered to be a part of this picture to prove that he is indeed here.
The new clinic, which replaces a smaller, existing clinic, appears to have ample space. Some equipment has already been moved in. Even a dentist's chair awaits so the locals can keep their teeth in good shape.
Here, a crew is painting the wrought iron railing around the front of the clinic. At left is Kathy Butler, with Sandy Huntsman and Tammy Blakely, all from Hazelwood.
Vida Nueva Mission also runs a preschool. At right, you can see some of the children as they arrive. Good discipline is maintained. The school feeds the children breakfast. Before they walk from their classrooms to the lunchroom, they pray thanksgiving, with one youngster leading the prayer in each classroom. Then they walk single-file to the lunchroom to eat. When each child is done, he or she folds their chair and stacks it neatly!
Here, the preschool children do a little morning exercise.
The mission also has an orphanage. A baby was recently left there.
Back at the houses in Piedras Negras, a crew arrived to assemble trusses for the house's roof. They spent Monday at the mission cutting the pieces and making a template. They really poured on the steam, assembling 15 trusses before the work day was over. They had it down to a real science so the work went fast. When they had all the pieces laid into the template, they'd grab as many people as they could to start hammering the truss together. It sounded like popcorn popping in a microwave, except a whole lot louder!
Meanwhile, we kept at the stucco and mortar. We learned the hard way to mix stucco in the shade when the sun's bearing down -- there's no faster way to drain your energy. Mixing the stucco or mortar is a lot of work!
Also, Gary Fry, a Hazelwood member, worked today to wire the house for electricity and hook it up to the city's electrical line. He installed a circuit breaker box inside and the meter outside at the curb today.
Here are Keith Hann and Andy Phillips, after Keith had connected the house to the city water supply. Here, Kedge Benge had tapped into the water line. There are no shutoffs in the street, so Kedge craftily asked Keith to put his finger on the open pipe. Keith did so unwittingly, and as soon as a little pressure built, he got blasted. You can see him soaked through at left.
Strangely, the water connection from the street comes up through the ground in the corner of the yard. Keith hooked the house's water line to this connection and ran the pipe along the ground! All of the pipes from the kitchen and bathroom run along the outside of the house! Given the climate here, there's little fear of the pipes freezing. And this is a really cost-effective way to run the plumbing. The stucco crew just applied stucco right over the pipes to give a finished look.
Tomorrow, we'll "raise the roof," as it were, by installing the trusses. And the mortar-and-stucco crew will keep at stuccoing the walls and mortaring the windows. But before we call it a night tonight, the mission will feed us dinner, we'll have our evening devotional, we may play a few rounds of Skip-Bo or Uno, and we'll enjoy the warm evening.