Building by Hand

Monday, March 9, 2015

The worksite includes the pastor's quarters as well as a partially finished structure that will someday be a classroom for programs to benefit the community.

The worksite includes the pastor’s quarters as well as a partially finished structure that will someday be a classroom for programs to benefit the community.

Projects at Vida Abundante have kept Friends of Cozumel volunteers busy all week. The church is relatively young and continues to grow—both in mission and in congregation, so there’s lots to be done.

What makes this a rather unique experience for FOC volunteers are not the projects, but the methods used to complete them.

Byron works on wiring at the Vida Abundante church.

Byron works on wiring at the Vida Abundante church.

After years of construction, repair and maintenance work in other aspects of their lives, the volunteers are skilled and experienced. Byron from Texas, for example, is a member of the FOC leadership team. When not in Cozumel, he travels with Volunteer Christian Builders, helping to build churches all over the U.S.

For the Vida Abundante projects of fixing faulty wiring, pouring cement for the roof of a new classroom and creating gutters to withstand tropical rains in Cozumel, Byron and the other volunteers needed some serious tools and materials. But need and availability are two different things–especially when funding is dependent on donations. As a result, the volunteers used a lot of creativity, patience and energy to complete their work “por mano,” or by hand.

“This is going to take me two or three hours of hard work,” said Gary as he used a chisel and hammer to create a channel for wiring to be fed through a cement block wall. “I have a tool at home that would have gotten the job done in about 15 minutes. But it’s all good in the end.”

Click on the photos below to enlarge them. The rest of this story may be better told in pictures than in words. ~ Phyllis from Nebraska

Gary applies a new coat of varnish to the cross in this open air church.

Gary applies a new coat of varnish to the cross in this open air church.

Larry works on moving a mountain of sand for the concrete work.

Larry works on moving a mountain of sand for the concrete work.

Ray uses PVC pipe and shelf braces to fashion a roof gutter.

Ray uses PVC pipe and shelf braces to fashion a roof gutter.

Ilene applies finish to a window frame to protect it from the weather.

Ilene applies finish to a window frame to protect it from the weather.

Larry uses a hand chisel to smooth the concrete floor of the bathroom.

Larry uses a hand chisel to smooth the concrete floor of the bathroom.

Larry cuts rebar to use for reinforcement of the concrete roof.

Larry cuts rebar to use for reinforcement of the concrete roof.

Larry bends the rebar before carrying it to the roof.

Larry bends the rebar before carrying it to the roof.

Pastor Soloman joined the volunteers preparing the roof for concrete.

Pastor Soloman joined the volunteers preparing hand-cut rebar to reinforce the roof concrete.

This is the inside of a future classroom before the cement roof was poured.

This is the inside of a future classroom before the cement roof was poured.

Gary chisels a channel for wiring through a cement block.

Gary chisels a channel for wiring through a cement block.

Bryron helps prepare the classroom before concrete is poured for its room.

Bryron helps prepare the classroom before concrete is poured for its room.

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