Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Construction and Cooking

The rainy season is drawing nearer everyday which means that Jason’s been busy. Actually, is there are word that means more than busy, like 6 times busy – if there is, that’s Jason. In the dry season it never rains, but once the rain comes it will rain everyday for months. Good for crops, good for wells, good for keeping the dust down, not so good for building with compressed earth blocks.

Nilton and Jason making some blocks in the youth center

The blocks that come out of the block machine are super strong, durable, and all-around awesome, but just like super man, they have their kryptonite – water. The blocks can’t get wet. You get around this by covering the buildings that you make with plaster and paint. The only problem is that the walls need to be done before they can be covered. Right now the block machine has two major projects: the new machine shop at the Youth Center in Bissau, and several buildings at the new Center that Wade and Katie are building in Mansoa (a nearby village).

God has been blessing the construction projects and despite seeming hundreds of setbacks and delays (welcome to construction in the third world, or actually just about anywhere…) the buildings are going up. The foundations are in and the walls are climbing skyward. In the next two months we just have to finish the walls, run all of the electrical and plumbing, build and install tons of windows and doors, install roofs, and generally batten down all of the hatches for the rain. It sounds doable, right? If only because we know that with God all things are possible :-)

Jason and his crew taking the block machine and all of it's accessories out to Mansoa

A pile of blocks fresh from the machine in Mansoa

Now that Jason’s got a great group of guys trained on the actual running of the block maker, he’s been spending most of his time, measuring, and cutting, and welding, and assembling, and chopping, and a variety of other man-type tasks. I’ve been trying to capture various pictures of him at work, so her are a few of the latest.
Jason using the arch form that he designed and built to make a pretty doorway on the new mini-clinic at the youth center. It's used to clean and bandage up small wounds of the kids in our neighborhood.

Showing Abby how the plasma cutter slices through steel like butter

Jason's looking forward to the shop being completed so that he can work on a table instead of on the ground!

Jason and Nilton welding up the water tower for Wade and Katie's house in Mansoa

As for me I’ve been doing pretty well. I’ve got work up to my eyeballs with Ajuda Bajuda and the women’s group at church, but it’s good to be needed, right? God has been continuing to bless my language and I’m not getting tired as fast listening to Creole as I used to. I can go for several hours at a time now without needing a break! God’s been bringing many friends around to our neck of the woods and there haven’t been very many days in the last two months where Jason and I have eaten with just the two of us at the table. It’s a blessing to be able to have people share our food and our home with and I’m quickly gaining a reputation as an amazing cook. Not sure if the praise is totally deserved, but I do try :-)

We were missing Tim Horton's so we fried up some cinnamon and sugar donut holes and make some good coffee.

Nicole munching on a turkey leg - soooooo gooooood!

There's a great squash here, bobra, that tastes just like pumpkin. It's in season so I've been making all kinds of things with it - principally, pumpkin muffins.

I had a serious fast food craving so I cooked hot dogs over the flame of our gas stove while our friend Anna (from Germany) made some french fries.

As far as the baby goes, I’ve been thanking God everyday for how not sick I’ve been. I’ve been dealing with a fair amount of tiredness and my nose can pick up smells a mile away, but besides that all of the other changes have been pretty minor. I haven’t posted any pictures of myself lately. There’s not a lot to see yet, but I know you guys are curious, so I’ll post the last few week updates anyway :-)

Standing in the baby's room in front of the wall that leads to our room. Once we get all of the doors and windows in the baby's room we will break a hole in the wall where the window is and put a door there.

Sydney and I hanging out in front of the baby's room. Sydney is laying in what will be the new doorway to our house.

The most exciting thing that happened over the past few weeks is that we found a doctor who has an ultrasound machine and training on how to use it. We went there about two weeks ago to see how the baby's doing. As you can see from the picture below, you can't really see much yet. The circle is the baby's sac and the white line inside it is the actual baby. The cool part about the visit was that we got to hear the baby's heart beat. It made it feel so real.

Just for fun I thought you might like to see a few more pictures of my hair when it was braided, and then after it was unbraided…

Sewing with the curls

All of the fake hair that I took out and the 80's style that remained