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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Last day. 2 comments

Our Team:

The team is packing for a really early departure in the morning.

 We spent the day visiting other schools, and a brief visit to the market and a beach.

  Will be back to our homes tomorrow night!

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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Getting tighter. 2 comments

The Pk team started tackling the large pile of scrap wood and refuse piled near the entrance - in the playground. While the construction is underway, the children do not have a area to play, but mostly hang around in their rooms or along the sidewalk. They have also learned that PK members make excellent climbing / swings / slides / general playground equiptment. Unlike in Canada where if construction was taking place, there would be endless signs, tape, pylons and baricades, the children at La Esperanza continually walk though areas littered with wood scraps and rebar.

The team piled wood behind the school and removed nails from the wood. Quickly a road block was found when there was a shortage of tools to pull the nails with. We did not have a single what we Canuks would consider a 'Normal hammer' with a nail pulling claw on it. We made due with crow-bars, until finally someone finally came across a real hammer. Yet, this is just a taste of the Dominican and the way they work. They do not have all the same tools we have. Instead of using a jackhammer and blasting away concrete, the workers would use sledge hammers and picks to slowly take out concrete. 

The roar of the concrete mixer caused a cringe with most the team. Concrete meant endless shovelling under the hot sun. Yet, the Lord blessed us again today with rolling cloud cover and little problems to give us breaks. From the mixer losing water from a lost bolt to the generator would not start so the pump could not deliver us water in full capactiy - little things gave everyone well needed breaks.

At lunch, we joined with the teachers and some of the students in a classroom in which the children presented us with gifts and songs. We shared thanks, prayers and gratitude with the teachers as they did with the PK team. Everyone then shared in a amazing lunch completed with a quick melting bucket of ice cream.

The afternoon The PK team walked around the area of the School, La Esperanza. The school is based in a area with more poverty and the shacks across the road proved so. We went from different home to home of where some of the students lived. These homes were truly humbling. They were not much more than a shack of loose wood with a tin roof that could fit inside your garage - twice.

The rest of the afternoon was spent with the school kids and staff - soon our ride appeared and we were off again.

To drive in the Dominican, it is imperative you have 3 things on your vehicle. 1. A horn, in which you will honk liberally, honk to say your passing on the left or right, honk to remind the drive in front to go, honk to say your daughter scored a A on her test, honk just because you can.   2. fine tuned steering. Swerving in and out of traffic needs precision - and those pedestrians take some fine maneuvering.   3. Brakes. When the steering doesn't work to avoid things, use those brakes.  The rest of the vehicle, doors, engine, lights, seats, e.t.c. is optional.

Our Driver is Daniel, this is the second time he has driven the PK team around the Santo Domingo streets ( last time being April ). We discovered this trip he accepted Christ as his saviour last April at a service we attended. He is always smiling and despite the language barrier, he gets along with every man. He is also a master of darting through traffic and has caused us to catch our breath many times but has managed to not get knicked.

This blogger needs some sleep thanks to a late night visit of ants as well as the rest of the team thanks to a late night dog barking.

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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Kenny shines. 5 comments

God answers prayers. The day started off with cloud cover and remained for most the day ( Thank you Lord! )  . Returning to the site, the trenches were completed and the rebar was in place. Today was to be concrete. There was some uncertainty on what was happening, waiting for things to be in place, so we had a bit of the morning to kill.

The team went to two different classrooms of kindergarden, 9, and 10 students. The team would introduce ourselves, where we are from and what we do. In return the students would say their name and what they wanted to be after completing school. The Dominican has some bright future professionals in their ranks.

After our introductions, work started. 2 men would load the cement mixer with sand, 2 with gravel. Abe kept a steady hand on the wheel and after water and the concrete mix, would turn it over and pour it out on the ground. A team of mixed Haitians and Canadians then scooped it up and loaded it into wheel barrows. It was amazing to watch the Haitian workers then continually carry load after load across thin planks to the rebar to dump.

All of the local construction workers we are working side by side with are from Haiti. They are refugees who find work in small menial tasks and are sometimes seen as 'second class' here in to Dominican. Adding to the mix, they speak creole, a language with roots in french. So it can be a challenge to talk to them, sign language is a must. Weird actions like doing the hokey pokey really translates to, "hey, can I use that shovel?". Even their oldest worker in rubber boots could out perform all of us, truly leaving us in awe.

The cement pour was relentless. Next to a loud diesel fume pouring mixer, the sun came out and was once again burned the white-white canuks. We were all praying for lunch and the Lord answered again... Lunch. No team member will admit to be excited to returning to work, but we returned after a bit. Shortly after though, the workers had lunch, another great break for the team. Back to work again, but soon after the power to the pump died so no water could be pumped and the belt came off and later broke, killing our mixer. Derrik assisted in fixing the electrical delivery problem. The white canuks took refuge under a tree, but the workers went another direction, making a massive pile of all the mix and hand making the concrete in a pile. Eventually the mixer was fixed, but the Team was already off for the sad  =)

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Monday, November 7, 2011

Moooonday blues. 0 comments

The rest of Sunday was a night of powerful worship and prayer. We have a great team assembled here.

Monday we all agree was hotter than Saturday. We continued to work on the trenches, but this time removing the soil and breakdown from the concrete slabs that were left. In doing this, we found it a little frustrating with moving one pile of dirt over 30 feet. Thank God for Bobcats.

The sun was relentless, as the day went on, breaks became mandatory. If you can even imagine, there was even word around about how nice it would be to be back in Canada to cool down.

At noon, the school switches. With limited room they teach a few grades in the morning and the other grades in the afternoon. The youngest grade took a liking to us, and made quick work to make our bodies jungle gyms. If you were also wearing glasses, small hands are quick to grab those. Nate quickly became a throwing upside down machine.

At the end of the afternoon, despite a day of what seemed like endless fruitless pile moving, the fruit of our labour became apparent. Before we left, the local workers were erecting the rebar foundation structures. When we return tomorrow we will be mixing concrete to start pouring. Please God, bring a breeze or some clouds. Canuks were not made for such heat - and some 'rednecks' are the proof of it. We were all left in awe when we learned one of the local workers was 77 and kept a constant pace and continual strength for the whole day.

The work is hard, and hot, but the Lord's strength is provided and there is great joy in connecting the with students of the school. Pictures coming soon.

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