10 January, 2008

And Closer Still

Yesterday saw quite a bit of progress. The back (streetside) porch got its roof completed with the addition of zinc and the final bits of trim.
Porch Roof Finished
From there, the guys started work on the porch railings. This took up most of the day. Fairly complex process to join all of it together. It's compounded by the fact that all of this wood is extremely hard - damn near impossible to drive a nail into, and just about as hard to drill through, much less drive lag screws and bolts into.
Pancho and Jose Discuss Drilling Posts
The posts are the hardest to work with as they are the hardest wood of any used on this project.
Abraham and Chillo Get a Post Ready for Drilling
It's just not a cookie-cutter process. It's really a one-off construction project. Each piece is custom-made to fit.
Abraham and Jose Measuring For the Railing
Today, they'll finish bolting and screwing the back porch railings together, then move over to the front porch and do the same thing all over again.
Watching Chillo Cut an Angle on the Post
Using all these hard woods are not only hard to work with, but it's very hard on tools too. Drill bits and saw blades tend to dull out quickly, and drills and saws wear out early as well. Part of it is the humid environment, but a lot of it is the tough work the tools are subjected to.
Here's the Back Porch Almost Done
A break in the construction action Wednesday and Thursday nights as we had our first two Conversational Spanish classes.

Our class (with about 25 Gringos attending each session) is held at the Corozal Institute for Technical Vocational Education and Training (ITVET) You can see about ITVET at

The class is two-hours long (6PM-8PM), twice a week for three months. It cost $169BZ per person. Our instructor, Florencio Barrera, has taught many Peace Corps language courses and is engaging and very entertaining. I think we're going to learn a lot.

This course is a first for ITVET. They are experimenting with community outreach and are hoping to see if there's enough demand for this type of course to be made available on a regular basis. Not just language, but a whole range of subjects are being considered

Last night's two hour class went by quickly and was a lot of fun. We had enough energy after class, that we went to Cactus Plaza (a local eatery and night-spot) for a nice meal and a couple of drinks. We actually stayed up past nine o'clock!
Florencio Barrera Leading the Class

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