24 October, 2007

Big Up Fi Progress Mek Wi

Hey Mon, This will likely be a long one. We've been making all kinds of progress. The Internet was down, as far as the Copa Banana was concerned. Even though we're staying at Bob's duplex, we've been using Internet from Copa. They have HughesNet satellite Internet and there was a problem with it for a couple of days.

Ok. So, where are we? Well, we're still waiting for the house to arrive. The rains have kept the roads in really bad condition, especially from Shipyard (where the house was built) to Guinea Grass. Rains hampered a lot of work on our property, but now that its slacked off, we have been really moving forward.

The well house was completed, we've got current, and running water. We've started building our fence. Turns out, this is a big project, as you'll see.

We'll start off with prepping for the foundation, bending rebar and tying it together, to get the foundation trenches ready for concrete.
Here's One of Esidoro's Brothers Bending Rebar
Here's Another of Esidoro's Brothers Tying Rebar
After it's tied, the rebar is placed in the trenches. Each trench is 240 ft. long.
Placing Rebar in the Trench
Esidoro Making a Final Check
Here's some of the loads of gravel and sand arriving on site. Almost all the dump trucks here are really home-built. They're cannibalized from other trucks, and really long dump beds are placed on them to be able to carry more (screw the rated capacity of the truck).
Dumping Gravel
Piles of Gravel and Sand
Isidoro hired a mixer and some additional crew for the day we were going to pour the foundation of the fences.
Rented Mixer
500 of the 1,380 Blocks for the Walls
Unfortunately, not everything comes together just the way it should. Case in point - We had everything except cement ready to go. Here's some of the crew waiting. Isidoro hired an additional 4 guys just for the pour. The mixer, came with 3 crew. We had 5 of our own. That's 12 workers, sitting around telling jokes, waiting for something to happen so they can work.
Hurry Up and Wait
We had been promised by Gomez Building Supplies that our 100 80-lb. bags of cement would be on-site first thing in the morning. After a couple of hours, Isidoro and I drove into town to see what happened. Turns out, when Gomez got his shipment the previous night, there was a mixup... He got a semi-load of 60-lb. bags instead. He figured we wanted the larger bags, so he just sat there... Arrgh! Could he have called the previous evening and asked if I could use the smaller bags? Of course not.

Anyway, we got that squared away. "Yes, we can use 60-lb. bags of cement". While we were there, I took advantage of the situation and spied a local sight I had been wanting to take a picture of for quite a while, but the opportunity never worked out. This was perfect.

There's these guys that pedal around town selling all kinds of housewares, sort of a department store on wheels, you might say. I saw this guy crossing the highway, just outside of Gomez' business, so I ran out and snapped these photos.
Department Store on Wheels
What Happens in a High Wind?
Three hours late, we finally have cement arriving on-site, and the guys can get to work.
Cement Arriving
Stacks of Blocks Everywhere
Thankfully, we have the water pump working. I had to buy 4 lengths of hose so we could fill seven drums to make the concrete. Below, you can see some of the stacks of blocks (which will be used after the foundation is poured) and three of the seven 55-gallon drums on-site for the cement mixing.

Incidentally, you may be wondering where we get these drums from, right? I thought so. So, I'll tell you. You have to go to Fruta Bomba, the papaya growers and purchase them for about $25BZ each. But, they seem to always have these things available for sale. Food grade and all (I'll be able to use one to create another pond filter).
Blocks and Drums
Blocks and Drums
Here's a long shot of the mixing activity on-site. It turned into a real bee-hive of activity for a good part of the day. Even with a late start, the guys managed to finish the pour at about 3:30PM.
Wide Shot of the Work Site
Work underway. Mixing concrete is a fast-moving activity. I takes a well-coordinated team of guys dumping measured amounts of water, sand, gravel, and cement into the mixer, and when the mixer is flipped over, a similar team of guys with wheelbarrows to haul the mix away. Below, you can see Eugene (in the center of the left photo, and Isidoro, in the red shirt on the right photo) hard at work in the process.
Teamwork Makes For A Successful Pour
Bucket Brigade
After mixing, you've got to dump it somewhere... Let's see, where would that be? Oh, right. We have these trenches with metal in them. Let's dump it there!
Esidoro Making Sure the End Post Rebar Stays True
This is the start of a lot of wheelbarrow loads of concrete. It goes pretty fast with a good crew.
Pouring and Pouring
A Long Pour
After the pour, and after it sets up for most of a day, Isidoro and his crew began setting some of the 1,380 8-inch, 3-hole blocks. This went really fast. I took the right-hand shot yesterday evening. This morning, my side of the fences should be done, as far as laying block. They'll move over to Elsie's side and do the same thing.
A Soldierly Line
Slowly Going Up

Good to the Last Drop
Blocks Everywhere
Adding Ingredients
Feeding the Hopper
The Machine That Actually Forms the Blocks
Freshly Made
Curing in the Sun
No Forklift Here
Starting the Next Course
Dave Holding Up A Post
Starting A Trench
Wiring Up the Water Pump
Dianna Supervising Mixing
Blue Kitty Hard At Work
Mr. Midas Doing the Same

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