As I just finished pouring the oatmeal into my bowl, Sam called to say I needed to pick up the volunteers meeting at St. Marks. I rushed through my meal, made a lunch, and woke up Saah to make the pick up. We arrived to find 2 volunteers…not what I expected. We waited a bit, then decided to drive to Deanville to see if more were at the mission church. About 5 men told us they were waiting at the preaching point at Kerkula Farm north of Gbarnga with a bunch of volunteers…not what I expected. As we drove there, I got a call from Sumo asking where we were because there were volunteers waiting at St. Marks. We picked up about 10 at Kerkula, headed back to St. Marks and found some volunteers walking along Gbarnga Hwy so we added to our cache of cutlass-bearing Christians. Back at St. Marks we loaded Sumo and a handful more. If you get the picture, communication is a bit lacking.
We pulled into the work site and found most of the trusses had already been hoisted into place by our band of brawny builders. I watched as they raised the last one using an army of pole-pushing assistants on the ground. It really looks like a warehouse now! The roofers climbed around like acrobatic arachnids constructing a web of 2x4s and 2x2s in preparation for the corrugated aluminum roofing to be installed next week.
The volunteer numbers slowly increased as some local villagers came to join the others. I’m guessing there were about 30 ranging from youth to seniors and this time it was primarily men. I think the word got out that the estrogen brushers were showing up the testosterone team.
My biggest difficulty was keeping them focused on where I wanted brushing done in preparation for the next two buildings. For some reason, they were determined to find one of the cornerstone markers that I didn’t really care much about. Eventually they redirected but much later in the day than I had hoped. Bishop Seyenkulo came first thing in the morning and then again at lunch time to show his support. The financially-assisted lunch (thank you donors…you know who you are!) was appreciated and some of the boys from my little band of followers also had a meal. I shared photos of my family and fall foliage pictures my Mom emailed to me (I definitely miss seeing the fall trees while here.) After I took photos of the cooks and volunteers, one of them borrowed my camera and began taking pictures of his friends and me…so here I am in my usual stance holding a bottle of water…re-hydrating is nonstop.
While workers installed some of the fascia trim boards, clouds rolled in for another round of late afternoon rain. Expecting it to be brief, the workers continued on–220V generator running and circular saw in hand at the roof’s peak! An OSHA nightmare! The heaviness of the downpour caused a quick retreat to shelter in the temporary warehouse and the rain began in earnest lasting about 20-25 minutes before dissipating. The wet workers left the confines of their muggy metal domicile to clean up the tools as I awaited baby FOTON’s return with the last sand load of the day. The absence of FOTON made the many volunteers wet as they endured the same rainy fate as the roofers. After the sand was unloaded, the volunteers were reloaded for a wet trip back to their homes. I finally made it back to Phebe around 7:00 to a crockpot meal of pineapple chicken over rice prepared by my housemate, Bruce. Thank you Bruce!