Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Venezuela - Construction

In the past, the team has built houses. We were blessed to be able to visit one of the houses our team built last year as well as briefly greet the woman for whom it was built.

This year, however, we were asked to do some much-needed repairs and improvements to the building of our host church. The big repair item was to re-tile the bathroom. One simple item was to put a fresh coat of paint on some of the stucco walls and metal doors. Some of the improvements included filling in some of the windows and installing windows in other places of the walls. (This is easily done with the type of architecture, but is foreign to us gringos who are more familiar with wood frame construction.) Also, we were to create a doorway where there wasn't one and seal a room so it could be locked for safe storage of equipment.

It was like a version of Monster House where a team renovates a house in a week's time. So this would be Monster Church, Maracaibo? We started on Monday by dismantling the bathroom and painting the walls. Most of us could paint the walls, but we got it done in that one day. The rest of the projects were in areas more confined in which we couldn't work effectively if all of us were there. So a few of us moved to working the carnival.

One of the difficulties in which the construction team needed to excercise grace was in functioning under the watchful eye of a couple of the elders of the church. The elders had certain ideas of how things should be done and our team was concerned that some of their ideas created inefficiencies and unnecessary waste. Nevertheless, the construction team was able to accommodate their requests with little incident.

At the end of the week, the projects were not entirely complete. The windows were finished and the new door was cut. Also, the painting was finished except where the windows had been changed. The bathroom was retiled, although there was concern that they wouldn't keep from chipping and cracking. The surface was excessively pitted and uneven and the Venezuelan tiles are very brittle and easily broken. We were not able to reinstall the fixtures, which should not be too difficult for the Venezuelans to do. The room to be sealed was not sealed. We obtained the materials to do it, and prepped it for the work, but we couldn't finish it. The doorway we were to cut, we cut, but we didn't have the time to install the door.

In all, we were disappointed that we couldn't finish everything, but we made enough progress that the projects could be finished by members of the church there.

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