Finally Pouring the Floor

Trip Start Feb 20, 2013
Trip End May 09, 2013

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Flag of Philippines  , Eastern Visayas,
Monday, April 22, 2013

Hello Everyone,

We finally had our big day at the construction day and by the end of Day 31...we FINISHED the pouring of the cement for the second floor platform! 

I started my day with breakfast at 5:30 am, and headed to the VFV Center to get last minute things together an hour later. By 7:15 am everyone was loaded in the jeepney, the VFV Boys and Girls Clubs both joined us at the site for the morning and afternoon. The Clubs are teenagers who used to be sponsored or are still sponsored in High School or College. The girls helped do all the cooking for the many, many workers and the boys contributed to the manual labor.

We had to stop and pick up one cement mixer on the way along with its operator. While I miraculously received a text from the municipal office at about 7:30 am that the mixer they promised was on its way to our site! The day got off to a great start!

We got to the site and some of the Cangumbang workers were already putting the finishing touches on the scaffolding and steel work. The began preparing trays for the cement to be pouring in, as we dragged the mixers in to place. The Boys and Girls started working on filling the remaining sacks with sand and gravel so they were ready for mixing.

By 9 am we started up both mixers and began mixing up the first batches of cement while everyone got in to position to begin pouring. The workers made assembly lines and took turns passing, shoveling, and pouring the cement in place all morning. By lunch time we were almost completely finished with the support beams which run the full perimeter of the center and perpendicular across the floor. We still had a long way to go but the workers needed a lunch break and rest from the heat. We had plenty of food so some of the children ate too.

Before lunch time hit JonJon strolled up quietly to the site, his face clearly showing he was not feeling too good. I squatted down and asked him if he was tired, hungry, or sick and he just threw his arms around me and whimpered a bit. He started answering my questions after cuddling me for a bit and I figured out he had a bad cough and was feeling quite ill. He didn't want to eat any food he just wanted to cuddle me. So for most of the morning he was literally attached to me, his arms and legs wrapped tightly around my torso. I put Vicks on him a few times and it helped with his cough but he developed a fever later in the day after falling asleep in my arms for a while. We could only get a small amount of fever reducer down, because he was feeling nauseous and didn't want to consume anything. 
Eventually he was so feverish he couldn't keep his eyes open and he was getting very unresponsive to me even when I was shaking him. So I decided to have one of the workers pour some cold water over his lower body and I sprinkled some on his face and head until he started crying and waking up. I took him to his house and had his sister wet a shirt with cold water and we wiped down his whole body after we finally got a bit of fever reducer down. He laid down in his house for a while, and I joined the construction finally while he napped.

After about an hour one of the children began yelling to me up on the scaffolding and pointed at JonJon in tears sitting on the ground near the site. I climbed down and walked over to him and he just put his arms in the air begging me to pick him up. I sat down on a bench and he laid with his head on my lap as I distributed juice to the children. By the time I finished he was fast asleep so I slipped away to help with the construction again. Eventually his sister took him back to his house to sleep and he rested for another hour or two.

He popped up again just before dinner time as the sun was starting to go down, again crying from a distance until one of the children got my attention that we was awake. This time when I picked him up his fever was back, I got him to drink a tiny bit of juice with medicine in it. I sat with him cuddling him as he continued to squeeze me closer, his little brother John Joseph kept periodically climbing up behind Jon Jon on my lap off and on. All of a sudden Jon Jon started vomiting out of no where and I quickly moved his head so he wouldn't soil his clothes, although my shirt was already covered. After clearly emptying his stomach he seems a bit better just exhausted. At that point I knew we had to contact his mother and within an hour and a half she was back at home and swept him up. I could tell he was very happy to see him Mommy.

The Boys and Girls Club left just before dinner, and while we ate dinner additional local workers trickled in who had been working in the field all day. We starting work again just after 7 pm and by 9:45 pm we were finally about half way done with the pouring. Just before 11 pm we assessed our materials and realized we were getting quite low on cement. We were a bit frantic for a few moments, we instructed all of the workers to not waste any cement and make sure they dumped the buckets well and tried not to spill cement.  I sat up on the scaffolding from 9:45 until the last bucket was poured, anxiously hoping we had enough cement. Just before midnight one of the community members said they had 9 bags of cement we could borrow and replace tomorrow so that put us at ease. Knowing we had only 25% left and 41 bags of cement available.

When midnight came and went the workers were progressively moving off the scaffolding as the remaining space was disappearing. Just as we got to the final portions the floodlight went out on the last portion so our carpenter and contractor each used flashlights to help the workers see. We had about 4 square meters left to pour by 12:30 am. The final bucket was pouring at about 1 am and I finally climbed down and started picking up the site as we waited for our jeepney to come.

It was a tiring day but in the end we successfully completed the floor. I got home around 2 am and after a much needed shower I fell asleep instantly.

I believe it was truly a miracle everything came together on Monday. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing all the children join the the assembly line when the workers tired or needed a break. And after dark the workers lightheartedly joked while they passed bucket after bucket of cement. It was truly a community event, and they all joined together to meet our goal for the day.

Tuesday will be a day of rest, but I will take the children some juice and snacks in the afternoon. They really deserve it after helping so much yesterday. I may even buy some of the workers some well earned beer to sip in the late afternoon. ;)

On Wednesday we will progress to building the walls, and now I will focus on sorting out our budget for the rest of the project.

Thanks for all your prayers and support!


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Suzy on

Yes! What a long day! Get some rest! Poor Jon Jon! I'm glad his mother could come to cuddle him. So glad everything worked out for your big day. Not the
suspense less process you could've had but He provided! :)

Sharon Matkin on

Elsa ...We are all so proud of you and all the volunteers...we are definitely keeping you all in prayer. Middle Schoolers are putting together a prayer for the parish keep all actively praying. God Bless You!

Mom on

Saw this last night and thought of your struggles to get things done:
James 1:2-4
My brothers, consider it a great joy when trials of many kinds come upon you,

for you well know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance, and

perseverance must complete its work so that you will become fully developed, complete, not deficient in any way.

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