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Then Step four of How To Build our literacy & translation office

June 11, 2014

Step Four: Foundations. The Onobasulu people do build their own houses. They had built the old literacy office. A while ago, some building materials had been given to the Onobasulu district of the local church. As we discussed the need to build a new literacy building, the local church leaders came to us with a proposal that we share our resources and build a multipurpose building. However, that asked that a knowledgeable construction person come to lead and teach using the ‘store bought’ materials. So, we got on the construction department schedule. The timing changed a few times, and God brought me back to Papua New Guinea.

So, Michael Wright and LaVeryl Voss came out to Walagu. The Onobasulu community had selected a site and cleared and mostly leveled the land. Actually, we used that spot for the helicopter to land during February and March, then again on our arrival in Walagu on the 7th of April. Here we are the morning of 7 April, ready to head to Walagu: Lindsey, Michael, LaVeryl, and Beverly.

Tools, equipment, building supplies, computers for language work, food, and personal supplies were all shuttled into Walagu. Then that afternoon, work began on the foundations of the new building. Part of the time, Beverly and Lindsey were working to set up living in the house, and other portion of our time was going to check the work and take heaps of photos. Here Michael and LaVeryl are actually working together and in agreement on what they are doing, but at first glance, it seems like they are headed in opposite directions.

It is quite amazing to see a building grow from a rough idea with rough sketches through designs on paper to becoming reality right before my eyes. I had seen workers use a transit, and I had always wondered what are they really seeing? So, I asked if I could look and discover new sights.

At first, I was just pretending that I knew what I was doing, but I did finally see the number that I was looking for. You can see the holes where the posts will be set. We/they were leveling the tops of the posts, so that eventually the floor of the building would be level.

The posts were set in small pads of cement, both for stability and as one of the many layers of preventing termite access to the building.

This poor, old wheelbarrow had seen better days, but it was busy during the construction time. It’s tire had long ago died, so it was run on its rim. However, each day it carried tools and equipment, and this day it was the mixing basin for the cement.

Here are the posts all set and lined up. I knew that there were bearers and joists, but I always got them mixed up. Which came first? Now, I know that the posts are in the ground, then the bearers (bearing up all of the layers of the building).

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