Under the Texan Sun

Last week I worked with a group from Chris's home congregation, Our Father Lutheran Church in Centennial, CO. All 8 group members had been to the mission at least once, whether on a previous summer trip or on OFLC's annual Thanksgiving trip. Our plan was to pour a slab in Horizon on Monday, finish tiling the sanctuary of San Lucas on Tuesday while the concrete dried, and then start building a kitchen and bath for the Olivas family--owners of the "Wildfire" house--the rest of the week. That's almost what happened.

Monday went as planned, except the fact that we didn't have a functioning concrete mixer until after lunch so it took 10 hours to finish. It was predicted to be brutally hot, but it honestly wasn't too bad thanks to a layer of clouds. Tuesday is where the F-word (flexibility) comes into play. We arrived at San Lucas, prepped the floor for tile (swept, mopped, moved furniture out of the way, grated down a metal door that would have scraped the floor when opened or closed), and then realized after laying about 1/2 a box of tile that it just wasn't going to work. The concrete was just too uneven; the tiles would have started cracking and coming up in no time and just looked crappy in general. Plan B wound up being going to the market and then heading back to the mission to use the same tile in the dorm kitchen instead. Mike--who stayed back and worked on tiling room G since his passport was expired--also got some help. What could have been a disastrous situation actually went over very smoothly, thanks to Chris patiently suggesting a variety of Plan B's, and the group graciously conceding that the hours they spend in determining that a new course of action was needed weren't wasted, but rather sacrificed so that another group didn't have the same inevitable experience. The rest of the week was spent pounding away in Horizon, yielding a framed, roofed, wired, and insulated structure by midday on Friday, which allowed time for some finishing touches on the dorm tile Friday afternoon. The only other real hangup we faced was heat, especially on Wednesday! I looked up what the actual high was--only 103--but it felt so much worse since we had no shade except a tent that the group purchased. All day we were encouraging each other to drink water and wear sunscreen, dumping bottles of ice water over people's heads, and sending people to the air-conditioned "prison" of Chris's truck. Chris's mom even surprised us by bringing paletas (REALLY yummy Mexican style popsicles that are best in Juarez, but we recently discovered an acceptable substitute on Alameda) on her way back from running an errand one day. Despite all that though, if we hadn't decided to quit early after working 10+ hour days on Monday and Tuesday, we would have had to b/c everyone was DONE. Be thankful that you are sitting in the air-conditioning as you look at a few pictures!

The dust storm/tornado looking thing that almost ate us on the bridge coming back from Santisima on Sunday.

Hanna and Elise are going to start a YLM clothing line.

Volcano #1...

Chris and Tom assembling the concrete mixer Chris bought for the mission. When we poured the slab for the Wildfire house, Mayra had one, but it was in use when we needed it. We borrowed one from another family in Horizon that actually showed up right after Chris got back from the store from this one, so he was going to return it but we were all VERY glad he didn't when the other one didn't work!

Water girl!

Loomis was an excellent wheelbarrow driver.

Kids playing under our shade tent.

After working for nearly 10 hours, I needed a picture of the finished product!

Prepping the floor at San Lucas for the failed tile.

Good thing we got to see the fireworks before we figured out this was a pointless job!

Elise holding the tile down.

Ann and Loomis in room G.

Mike is in the closet!

The shade tent turned into the cutting tent...how did Hanna swing THAT job???

Me sawing out the doorframe on the interior wall.

And sawing extra siding off the side of the exterior doorframe. Apparently I was making some sort of really funny face but you couldn't see it in pictures b/c of the angle of my hat. Oh well.

Ann showing off our b-e-a-utiful roofing job.

Loomis's tarring technique.

Team roof...we all emerged relatively clean except for Loomis.

Helloooooo fiberglass dust!

We weren't planning ahead very well when we built the Wildfire house...this window is going to be taken out and put in the kitchen, the space is going to be a door connecting the two sections of Mayra's house, and we didn't really need to paint this side!

The OFLC team plus Mayra and her 3 kids.

Time for me to go eat lasagna for lunch and then take flyers for University Lutheran Church in West Lafayette, IN's VBS/CPR classes/health checks this week door-to-door in Sparks. That has proven to be the most effective way to get people to attend our events. The other group that's here is Trinity Lutheran from Centralia, IL. Wanna hear a funny story? One of the guys from the Centralia group saw the label on the kitchen drawer in the dorm that said "Spoons/Ladles" and thought "ladle" (lahd-lay) was the Spanish word for spoon! He's going to be hearing about that one all week ;)

Until next time, blessings!