LAMA Mission trip - El Carmen, San Juan Bautista, Ica, Peru
This is part 3 (2nd half of April) of the blog for this specific Mission trip, first one for 2015. Click any of the below date blocks to go to any of the parts of this blog:
- March 11 - 31st
- April 1th - 15th
- April 16th - 30th
- May 1 on
Also you may click here for photo gallery. (all photos from blog are in gallery, plus many others)
Thursday, April 16 - Another day at the mission and we had only 7 workers today (plus Abel) show up. Apparently, the other job had them working hard late yesterday and they then partied a bit too hard afterwards, so we lost a pair of workers. Abel is out looking for more. Two different crews, one for the 2nd floor and one for the 3rd. Work is progressing. We have two workers doing the 2nd floor, 3 still on the 3rd, a worker running supplies to both teams and Charlie (Abel's brother) supervising and making a lot of preliminary cuts for electrical work on the 2nd floor prior to the tarrajeo work to be done. We could use another tarrajeo crew on the 2nd floor for sure. Hope one arrives.
The first room gets done on the 2nd floor. That's a good sign! Now just seven more to go! ;-) I spent some time with Charlie (Abel's brother) going over the low voltage tubing routes, one of my primary reasons for being here! ;-)
Hopefully we can get a wrap on the 3rd floor today and all hands focused on the 2nd floor going forward. Time will tell. Picture at right shows 2nd floor low voltage tubing runs between the 1st, 2nd and 3rd floor as they look on the 2nd floor before being closed up in the wall. Hope this picture will assist me with my fishtape work in later weeks! ;-)
Lily has gone to Ica again while I play interface with the contractor teams. Got them some Chicha punch, worked out the low voltage, accepted delivery of our lunch, and worked on blog - light morning. It's 1:30, crew went to lunch, time for me to eat .... alone. Oh well, it will get busy again and noisy as well in no time.
Although we started the day out with 7, after lunch we were up to 11 workers. Leaving two on the 3rd floor doing the east parapet wall, the balance of the workforce got busy on the 2nd floor and made a lot of progress. More tomorrow though if we get the same number or more of workers back. Our lead contractor, Abel, made up one of those 11.
We did get a strong start on two more rooms on the 2nd floor. The crew worked late, and I ended up holding a light for them to finish one wall. Got out about 6:30, hope to see them fresh and early tomorrow morning.
Friday, April 17 - Forgot that we were scheduled to be in Pisco today, meeting with some associates on some personal matters, exploring the news on the scheduled new international airport that's supposed to open later this year (link) and more. We got up at 5, left the mission at 6 to catch a 7am bus, with the hope of getting back by 1pm or so.
Anyway, I struggled last night with mental exercises around tubals and caja's ( tubes and boxes) for the low voltage runs we are doing, and I had Lily call our contractor when we were on the early bus this morning. He said he would see us when we got back. I did express the issue to them and we may have a solution but I am discovering some other wrinkles ... boy, the things that keep me awake at night. Oh well, will work the issue again tomorrow.
We are also scheduled to meet with a friend from Lima who is down in Ica doingn some family matters, and hope to host her at the mission.
We had a productive visit in Pisco. This map on the right shows the relative distance between Pisco and their new airport (when it opens) and the mission location. It's a one hour bus ride, rather than 4+ from Lima, a much shorter distance. Current fairs by air to Pisco are rather inflated since it is still a civil but not commercial airport. Excited about possibilities when this opens as a commercial airport alledgedly later this year. We finished up our visit to Pisco and headed back after visiting a few different business stops and exploring also the rerouted divided four lane Pan American highway that is going on through this area, probably in relation to the new planned airport.
The ride back to Ica ran into a hurdle when the bus took a diversion path to drop off some large load of florist cuttings and kept us all waiting for ten minutes. After awhile the bus patrons got a bit unruly and let the driver know it, since this was not part of anything they signed up for. Anyway, we got back a little late to Ica, but did meet with our friend, Rosa, from Lima. We rode out to the mission together in a collectivo and tonight we have our first official overnight guest! Wonder if we should give her a certificate or something? ;-)
Saturday, April 18 - We had a tasty breakfast with our friend Rosa this morning before she caught a collectivo to Ica, for her ride back to Lima.
Productive start for today, which is traditionally a short day with the crew heading home late afternoon on Saturdays. Worked through some of the discovered headaches we have with the current tube routing for low voltage. Hopefully will have this solved. Also found a blocked tube that they will get a compressed air tank to help clear on Monday, so this issue is still up in the air. (no pun intended!). They are completing the last bit of tarrajeo on the 3rd floor (the eastern parapet wall) and Abel seems to think that we can plan to pour the floor up there next week. Of course this means that we have all the wiring tubes in place and hopefully even the wires pulled prior. So much to do .
The crew on the 2nd floor is aggressively moving forward, having all but finished the womans dorm and bathroom area (lots of walls) today. At the same time, with yesterdays agressive progress on the 2nd floor main rooms, and todays, we might get this process done next week as well. So much work to do on the exterior, floor pouring, electrical runs, plumbing, etc. the sooner the better.
They guys did get cleaned up for a late lunch (2pm) but were pretty much ready to end the work week, with this being pay day from Abel, the contractor. They will be back on the job Monday, bright and early. We next had our 3rd English class, this time with 10 students. We are constantly getting inquiries on the street now from many who are interested in getting this free education. We have turned away a few insisting that it 's for our bible students. However, we may downstream re-think that for I can think of no better way to lead many to Christ than through common discussion in a classroom environment. We will see how this goes forward. We need to acquire a regular curriculum and start to follow it. Looking aggressively for one.
After the English students left, we had less than an hour to prepare for the adult bible study. This time we had to do it without Cesar and his wife, our regular leaders, as they called and could not make it this week. This is the problem with our current arrangement in that when this happens, one should send a substitute. There is no way to keep a group enthused and growing if the services are not scheduled and reliably performed on a regular basis, regardless of a tempory change of leadership. Anyway, Cirelo, our regular music leader DID show up and he added the sermon to his other skills, so Lily and I did not have to add something at the last moment. Thank you Cirelo!!!
Called it a night after service and treated everyone to Chicha, Tea and small tuna sandwiches. Everyone left about 8pm and I was able to get some late re-heated spaghetti. mmmm
Sunday, April 19 - So what did you do on your Sunday morning? I went to relocate our internet receiver dish by sitting on the edge of our 'fifth floor' (we only have 3 floors but have a water tank on top (our fourth floor) and when you get on top of that ... well, all I can say is what a view!! While up there, and Lily was taking pictures, she got a 4th floor view of the 3rd floor as it sits today.
This week we will be most likely pouring the floor on this level. First we have a lot of plumbing and electrical work to get laid out, and when that is done, a lot of cement will flow. Then we repeat that process on the 2nd floor which is still heavily undergoing a lot of tarrajear work.
Our weekly youth bible group got together after a bit of a delay that we are still working out the kinks on, but get together they did. Augusto and Nancy came, and after the group session, we had a light meal together and enjoyed each other's company catching up on things before they left for the evening.
Monday, April 20 - Workers showed up, about 8 of them. I started to hear a lot of brick cutting going on which was a welcome sign as we needed to do some re-routing and correction of a few low voltage lines before we close the walls and floors up. Got upstairs and verified that Charlie was doing that very thing. Did some assisting with the running back and forth between the 2nd and 3rd floor for him to verifying his cuts were coming through. Then I succumbed to the breakfast call from Lily. Lots of tarrajeo process underway on the 2nd floor, both inside and out.
Back with the workers, We seem to have 5 that are actually doing tarrajeo work, while Charlie is running ahead of them and making the needed cuts for electrical. The other two guys seem to be in service mode making sure that the mix of cement and sand as well as water is always available for the crews. We've still got a brick wall to put up under the stairs, after they finish tarrajeo work there, so we have at least 2 days of work to finish here. One of the tarrajeo workers is actually working outside on the 2nd floor balcony area, so some headstart on that massive portion of yet to do work is getting started as well.
Electrical and low voltage tubing is started to be laid on the third floor. We are missing some tubing elbows so some additional pieces are needed before we actually pour the floor, but move forward we do. Hopefully we can pour the floor by Wednesday, and maybe even if lucky do the 2nd floor by Saturday. Much to hope for.
Lily goes to Lima tomorrow morning for one night, leaving the 'gringo' in charge. Oh oh ... Anyway, we will push forward. I assume that I will be pulling wires all week with Abel again. A lot of tarrajeo and electrical cuts, and tubes were run today. Hope for big progress tomorrow for a hopeful floor pour on Wednesday.
Tuesday, April 21 - Lily left early for Lima for one day. Our door and window man showed up at 7am to install our new exterior door on the 2nd floor, and the construction crew showed up while he was working around 8am. I was disappointed though that we only have 4 guys working, actually 3 doing tarrajeo and a helper. Had a brief phone conversation with Lily making her aware. Anyway, apparently we will need to get another cement delivery before we can pour the floor but we still have over 25 bags and a lot of tarrajeo to do so not sure why the crew shortage. Even more disappointing when that crew diminished further down to 2 workers and a helper by early afternoon.
We took delivery of a new steel trap door that will be installed on the cistern, after a cement square manhole is built for it to rest on. We will then also have to get a hasp lock put on it.
Charlie and I successfully cleared a low voltage tube line with compressed air, so that was good news. Needed to clear a low voltage tube running from the 3rd floor to the 1st since it got some debris in it and was blocked. This small air compressor did the trick. A junction box will be installed here with 8 or 9 feed tubes comingn into it. Final steps before running wires and pouring floor.
Oh well, as slow as this day is going (assuming guys got called over to a time sensitive job down the street), at least we are moving forward. Hope for more progress, and more workers, tomorrow.
Wednesday, April 22 - Boy, am I pooped. It's the end of the day and I spent the whole day working with Charile pulling wires on the 3rd floor. As a lot of them were in the hot sun, it was even harder. Anyway, we succeeded in completing the open area with 12-14 (lost count) outlets and column tops for future lighting. We then turned to the outlets on the interior of the 3rd floor apartment area. We used 14 gauge for the first long run and started to run out of one color. We then changed to 12 gauge working the apartment and then we simply ran out of sunshine and had to quit. Resume tomorrow. I am one sore dude.
A lot of tarrajeo got done as well on the 2nd floor, and a cement manhole square was poured for the cistern entrance. Got the low voltage junction box all finalized on the 3rd floor as well. Talked to Lily briefly as she was on the return bus and should be here by 8pm. We need to get more concrete tomorrow for us to do the concrete pour on the 3rd floor and although I was hoping this was done by Wednesday, looks more like Friday/Saturday will be the timeframe. It's dark, I'm sore, and tired ... need a shower. More tomorrow!
Thursday, April 23 - resumed with pulling wires. At some time while were doing it, the stairway down to the first floor got closed off for tarrajeo work so had to drop a ladder at some point to go get a tool! The stair passage from the first floor is understandably the last major large area to get tarrajeo process. While it's being done, we are restricted from going up and down except by a rickety home made ladder we are using on the side of the building. That's OK, as it's a welcome progress step.
Anyway, we finally finished all the electrical outlets in the 3rd floor building, having finished them on the open exterior floor yesterday. That leaves the wire pulls for the lighting within the building only and will resume that as soon as we replenish some wire we used up.
Have a load of special cement being delivered this afternoon with electircal tubes (yup, ran out of them too). The special cement is for a thinner lighter floor and one that will stand up to sun exposure which is needed on the 3rd floor, especially until we get a permanent light weight roof fashioned up here. Still aiming to do the floor pour by end of week.
Friday, April 24 - We have a big day today, primarily focused on pouring the floor. Getting to work earlier than the workers in preparation for this pour, Abel (our contractor) came up to the 3rd floor with 8-9 workers and found me pulling cable. Abel was apparently bragging on me to the workers as they watch me pull some TV & internet cable. He tries to engage me in the discussion and I think he first asked me my age which I gladly said I was 64 (keeping up with these 25-30 year old hard workers, I'm thinking). Then he either clarifies or add's a second question about my prior work experience .. When someone says E-Bee-Em-Aye, I don't always hear IBM ... so his brother wrote it on the wall, which I said .. "Oh, yeah, that - si!... viento años" (20 years) .. but then clarified 35 years in the industry. And for all those years I am now pulling ethernet cable in Peru! you too can put your expertise to work!! ;-) (I didn't remind them that I was mostly in sales during all those years!)
Anyhow, I am scrambling to get my wires pulled before the pour, cause often when you are pulling, you need to disconnect the tubes (especially on long runs, or short non-straight ones) to get the wires through ... Can't disconnect any tubes after the pour!! Once the cement started coming, one bucket at a time, my efforts were going to get blocked. So, with a hard working crew of about 10 guys working their tails off bringing heavy buckets of cement up two flights of stairway from the first floor mixer, I was hurrying to get my wires laid. There were only two long tubes on this main open area for low voltage, but I simply left my long snake in the latter one knowing I would not get my wire pulled in time for that one. Now I have to go buy more wire so I can free up my snake!! ;-) Once the hurried needed tubing was wired (or snaked) I resumed working on the apartment wiring. I didn't know till today that the floor pouring was only the open outside area. We will not do the apartment floor until Monday. I know it will be a higher floor, requring a step up to enter. We need to get all the water plumbing done before pouriing it.
While the major effort of the flooring was being done, we had two workers working two levels of a section of external wall tarrajeo on the north wall. This work somewhat blocked the corridor from the front to back, requiring the 'bucket run' for the floor cement to go through the primary premises, much to Lily's dissatisfaction. Seems like a little better planning would have prevented this, but life goes on.
Saturday, April 25 - A crowd of workers show up in the morning, but what counts is how many stay. They all seem to get their attire changed here, and then head off in the village to other smaller jobs that Abel has them doing.
After that initial 'weeding down' we had 5 workers here, including Charlie Quispe who was somewhat supervising the other 4, three of which were doing tarrajeo work with one helper. Abel later showed up and did some work on the cistern, tearing off the framework for the manhole cover that has been in place for a few days. We have a new steel lid over a square manhole cover in the back of the mission that contains up to 12 cubic meters of water. Excellent. Think we need to get some hinges and a padlock but that will happen in time too.
Other than Percy working some terrajeo on the interior, two other workers were focused on another section of exterior wall. Charlie was busy most of the morning assembling scaffolding, and later making needed cuts for low voltage lines, and also pitching in on the actual tattajeo work as well. Our 5th worker kept both teams supplied with materials the whole time. Being Saturday, the teams usually skip lunch and go home early, which was Percy's doing. The external team must have done lunch since they kept at it till they were done which required a full day.
The particular picture of them doing this high elevation work was a bit challenging to me. I personally would have wanted that last plank that I was standing on to reach the highest corner, to be at least level! Thank goodness there were no accidents. God bless these hard working men. Looking good!!
We had our 4th English Second Language training class, however with a great deal of conflict with all the construction comings and goings with scaffolding and workers. But we had a good session, although it was a small group. I think that we were also competing with a 3 day weekend where many families made other plans for today. But good session. Hope we get the larger group back next week.
After English class was over, we set up for adult bible study. Cesar and his wife showed up a little late so we were a little worried. But more folks started showing up when the music was hooked up.
In typical Peruvian fashion, more folks showed up even later. We were competing with a BINGO tournament (an often held event here in the plaza) across the street from the mission but no matter, we turned out a pretty good showing.
Sunday, April 26 - Our 'day of rest', we only had scheduled the youth group at 2pm today. Starting the morning off at leasure, I called American Airlines (for a 3rd time) trying to improve our return date to the States. We are currently scheduled to return on the 28th of May but since we are going to be back down here again in August, and there are many family things that we would be missing in May if we keep our current return times, we have been attempting to improve the return dates, but without any luck. Apparently this time, we were able to do so but only if we return separately on different dates. We will be two weeks apart from each other, but will now be able to catch some family events we would have missed and still get quite a bit done down here. One goal accomplished so far today.
Had a great lunch made by Lily today. This is our one day that we don't have our meals provided by a kind woman in the village. At 2pm the youth started showing up. Augusto and Nancy showed up a little late but we entertained the youth in the interim. We had a good showing and these kids are what we are down here for primarily. We did a study of the Gospel of John, chapter 5. After which gave them small care packages of dental hygiene items for them to take with them, as we have many toothbrushes, toothpaste and dental floss, courtesy of Dr Parker, an Orthodontist in San Diego who has taken a wonderful interest in our Missionary work. While the youth group was in session, one year old Pia from next door was fun to entertain. She is so easy to get to laugh and is so huggable. The more I spend time with her, I remember our own grandkids we left in the states who we miss a good deal. Love the children down here. There is so much love and sincere desire to know Jesus.
Later, Pia's mom came over and gave us some tips on harvesting a very small crop of pecans we have on our young Pecan tree. We have two other trees that are even younger on the mission property and are learning what to do, how to do it, as far as what to expect with the production of these trees. Problem though is that it takes nearly 10 years before a pecan orchard (not what we have by any means) to come to full production. But it's fun growing grapes and pecans on the property.
Monday, April 27 - Work resumed. A crew of 4 worked today, supervisor (Charlie), one helper and two tarrajeo experts. Work was continuing on outside north wall. We also cut in a plumbing pipe from the 2nd floor bathroom to the 3rd and 1st floor for needed water spickets in the northeast corners. Lily ran to Maestro for another delivery of 80 bags of cement, a good number of plumbing pipes, fixtures, and a long extension ladder that will become a permanent important tool at the mission. Lots of high places to reach now as we finish these upper floors. Helped the guys unload the concrete which will be used for the pouring of the 2nd floor as well as continual terrajeo work being done externally.
Had an estimate done today for a special roof for the 3rd floor. Made up of a polycarbonate material, light weight, no need for center columns, capability to suspend center lights, run power or low voltage lines through the support structure, etc. We will get the windows done on the 2nd floor first, and then see if we can do this special roof before we get done. So little time and so much to do.
Tuesday, April 28 - We are switching window providers (just one day later) so we can go aluminium on both the 2nd and 3rd floors. We will have the first contractor (yesterday) move forward with the 3rd floor roof and get it up in a week. Our aluminum window bidder who we met with today will also take a week (and will need to work around the floor contractors though on both floors). Lily will be here to see all of this getting done as I am heading back to United States next week. We are moving fast on finishing up the terrajeo on the outside but still so much to do both internally (plumbing, wiring, windows, doors, pouring 2nd floor, etc) as well as externally (tarrajeo, pouring concrete courtyard and cooridor, etc). I am feeling guilty for leaving a bit early but whatever I don't get done on this trip (wiring and more) I will work on in August when we return.
Today a good deal of work got done. Scaffolding was errected in the rear of the property and work started on the 3rd floor and will continue going on down the building till that side is complete. While this was underway, work continued on the north wall at the ground level, not necessarily visible behind the property wall, but definitely visible within the property. With these two functions going on on the outside, our contractor Abel with his brother Charlie got started on the 3rd floor plumbing (kitchen, laundry room and two bathrooms). When they complete that, hopefully tomorrow, they will do likewise on the second floor.
With all that going on, Lily went to town on her own to meet her visiting two siblings, Antonio (Lima) and Ismelda (San Francisco). After getting them settled in, all four of us headed back to Ica, the two of them needing to catch a bus for the remainder of the day for Pisco. Lily and I ran to Sodimac to get a few items her recent trip could not find at our regular store. We also went and picked up a second attempt at a dedication plaque commemorating the donated property that this new mission now sits on. We originally had a similar looking plaque done when we first started construction, but it was plastic and the glue used to fasten it to the wall leaked through and ruined it. This time we made it of marble and it will be installed in the front court yard wall. We will have a wonderful visit for two nights of two of Lily's siblings. The timing of getting the re-worked plaque picked up couldn't have been better planned.
Workers worked late beyond sunset again. However, much later in the evening we got the news that many of our workers today that were working on the rear wall on the scaffolding will not be here tomorrow due to work conflict with another job. We will keep the north wall tarrajeo work continuing and the plumbing work. Hope we can get some other workers as their replacement, otherwise, it will not be until Thursday that side of the building will resume. Drat.
Anyway, two different contracts are getting finalized, one for windows on both of the upper floors and the other for the light weight roof and rafters for the cover on the large meeting area on the 3rd floor. Looks like I won't see that major profile item until I get back in August ... darn it. Will post pictures though since I will definitely encourage my wife to take many and email them to me.
Wednesday, April 29 - Had an early morning visit from our light weight roofing contractor. Using regular electrical tubing, Lily, Charlie and the contractor, try to come up with the dimensions, height and shape of what the special custom structure would look like. It will be fabricated this week and installed next week, while I am up in Lima on my way back to the USA. The material itself that will be installed on the framing may not be acquired and installed until our next trip, but the framing will be done. Will love the function and look when this is done.
Tarrajeo work continued in the back, as well as in the external cooridor on the north side. At the same time, Charley was continuing the plumbing work on the 3rd floor. Abel, as stated yesterday, had to take a couple key workers off the job for another, but having three teams is still great progress. And he himself filled in for one of them (as pictured, upper right).
Thursday, April 30 - Got up early this morning to get a picture of the finished back of mission tarrejeo work with the scaffolding removed. Wish we didn't have to wait a few months before starting to paint, but it still looks a lot better than just brick!!
After visiting for a few nights my two inlaws, Antonio and Ismelda, both left the Mission in El Carmen for Ica then will take a bus back to Lima this morning. Great to be able to have visitors while we are down here. Also good for the Wong siblings to see the fantastic construction growth that has happened on their initial property donation.
As the workers showed up, scaffolding got erected in the front to start attacking the final side for tarrejeo. There is still some more work to do on the north side, in the cooridor area but the big remaining area is definitely the front.
While this was going on, a team was working to pour the 2nd area of the floor on the third floor. This was the area within the building structure, where the area poured was only the open area. Within the structure, we had a lot more electrical, low voltage to complete but more importantly, all the plumbing to support a small kitchen, two bathrooms (one public, one private) and a laundry room. That being completed this morning, the bucker brigade commenced.
The floor will be a bit higher than the large open area. Also, in the actual bathrooms themselves, they will be an even higher step up. Will be interesting to experience the floor in the morning when we can walk on it. All my electrical and low voltage work is committed as it is permanently under the floor. (Well, the tubes do allow us to pull cables in the future, but not as easy than without the concrete! ;-)
While all this work was going on the 3rd floor as well as the concrete mixing out front, I noticed a glass of purple liquid Lily left in the kitchen under a saucer. Thinking it was chicha, which the workers are always asking for, I checked it out and saw it was beet juice (you could smell it as it got close to your nose and seeing a bag of beets that she used for cooking recently, I put two and two together. I kidded with her implying that I drank it and it was the worse chicha drink ever! Well later in the day, one of the workers who is always kidding with me and especially always asking for chicha (Christian "alto", a.k.a. 'tall Christian"), I brought him the glass out front special delivery. He appeared most grateful and all the workers out there were starting to yell for their chicha wondering why the special treatment. Christian, being thirsty, committed it right away to his palet and made a big frown as he looked at the glass ... I admitted to my prank and got a good laugh. Charlie, one of the workers who was most vocal about 'where was his chicha' was almost barrell laughing when he heard what it really was .... same color!!! Funny. Anyway, I brought them all some real chicha a few minutes later, Christian included.
Later in the day, a lot of the workers took a soccer break, letting their concrete work on the third floor set a bit. The two workers doing the tarrajeo did not stop for lunch or soccer as they were somewhat committed to their craft, but did leave earlier than the rest to make up for the skipped lunch. A lot got done, do hope it gets finished tomorrow ... still so much to do.
Since this is the last day of April, I will end this blog and start a new one tomorrow. Although my days here are severely limited, hopefully Lily will get me pictures in the next two weeks as she will still be down here, showing progress on the windows, roof, concrete pour, tarrajeo front wall top, etc.