Thursday, November 4, 2010
Pouring concrete in Africa!
Below is a blog entry written by Missionary Jason Witt. Jason Hosted the LHC Missions Team this past summer in Garrissa, Kenya. Jason is overseeing the school building project that the LHC Team worked on and LHC has helped to fund. This building will be home to a school for girls as well as the local Agape Church. LHC has been part of the Agape Churches in Kenya for some years through funding, prayer, and physical labor on trips. The pouring of concrete as Jason describes in this entry is exciting to the many, many people involved in this mission. God is working in a powerful way through this project and prayer is needed for those like Jason and his family who have given their lives to God in this place. If you would like to further fund this project we would encourage it also!
As written by Missionary Jason Witt:
This is a beautiful sight to me it is a symbol the Father's faithfulness. Honestly there were days when I never thought I would see this stage complete many times when I asked the Father why did you tell me to manage this project its stressing me out! Pouring a second floor slab is really no joke. In America we order our concrete by the cubic yard and if you were to pour a second floor slab you would use a wonderful invention called a pump truck that pumps the concrete through a 4inch hose and you pour it very nicely and with minimal waste, labor, people etc.
In Kenya you would gather your materials sand, ballast, and bags of cement then you will rent a concrete mixer, a crane, and a vibrating machine to compact the concrete properly. Well I attempted these things I gathered the materials I found a mixer and a vibrating machine. The crane well we live in the bush so keep dreaming. That is what the giant staircase or the ladder takes the place of. Its a very large manual powered crane so to speak. So last Thursday we were all ready everything was in place. We hoped to pour the slab in two days maximum.
Day 1 the laborers showed up and we took two hours to negotiate for the labor contract but we finally manged to agree. We start the concrete mixer and the belt snapped off immediately. So I went around town to 20 (no exaggeration her really 20)different store until I found the right size belt. I rushed back and put the belt on and then we were back in business! Then after about two hours the mixer started getting a mind of its own and idling very high and the all the bolts began to back out. I called a mechanic and he told me it would need spare parts from Nairobi. So we decided we would clean up and try again tomorrow.
Day 2 We didn't get the mixer fixed and we were unable to find another to rent. There are only about 4 in our town 3 were broken and the other belonged to someone who was not interested in helping us at all for spiritual reasons. But the show must go on so we mixed it by hand and worked hard. We were moving at a good pace and then the water stopped running around 3 in the afternoon. Obviously we can't mix concrete without water. So we cleaned up and decided to come back again tomorrow.
Day 3 The laborers were tired and renegotiated the terms of the agreement but it took us 2 hours. We cleared it up and continued working until dark. This was Saturday so we would break until Monday and come back and do it again.
Day 4 Sunday
Day 5 We were able to work the whole day it was the first day we worked with no complications but we were still unable to finish.
Day 6 Finally we finished by 2 in the afternoon and that my friends is a beautiful sight. It is a sign of the Father's faithfulness He who starts a good work will complete it.
I made so many good friendships with these guys over the course of these 5 days I hope I was able to smash the stereotype that white people don't know how to work. Honestly there is no way I could keep up with some of them but I can still hold my own at least.( even at 30) I really enjoyed getting to know these guys and joke with them we worked hard but we had a lot of fun too. The Father has amazing ways of encouraging you when you need it. He used this situation to build my faith He usually does things that way for me. I can't wait to see what He does next!
Here are a few fun facts for ya- We were 25 guys working.
We mixed over 200 bags of cement by hand
Moved over 80 tons of ballast or gravel (several times actually) with wheel barrows
Moved over 40 tons o sand( several times)with wheel barrows