As promised, here are some photos from the exciting day last week when we poured the second story roof on the pharmacy/lab/xray building up at our clinic site. As I show you the photos, I’ll describe some of the processes involved in getting the concrete up to the roof!
The day before the event, the carpenters were busy checking all the framing to be sure it was secure and that all the spaces between the plywood and planks were filled with cardboard or paper to seal them. In addition, they built 4 ladders that were used for the “bucket brigade” to get the concrete from down on the ground where it was mixed, up to the roof. When we arrived at the site early Wednesday morning, the crew was already in place and busily working.
There were four ladders set up in place with 2 ladders on each side of the building. We had two cement mixers in use, one on each side, with each workman assigned to a specific task. Some filled buckets with sand, some with gravel, some with water and some with cement powder that they put from bags into buckets. Others carried the bags of cement from the storage building over to the mixing site. Each batch of concrete has a specific ratio of ingredients and it’s the mixer operator’s job to keep track of what’s going into the mixer. Here is one of the mixers that was donated to us by Wayne and Joanne Siesennop from Eastbrook Church in Milwaukee. It was a wonderful thing to be able to have two mixers in use for such a huge job.
Filling the cement mixer with material.
Pile of cement bags waiting to be used.
There were 6 plastic drums, 3 by each mixer, to hold water for mixing the concrete. The drums hold 55 gallons each and water was carried in 5 gallon buckets from the creek up a steep hill to the clinic site by two sisters and their two sons. They filled up 106 drums with water during the day!
Sisters Eveline and Marie carrying buckets of water on their heads from the creek up to the building site.
Eveline, her son and nephew taking a break to watch the action.
Once mixed, the concrete is scooped into buckets and passed along the ladders up to the top roof. The workmen who were hired for this task came prepared for the work, with long gloves made out of rubber or denim and various head wear to protect them from the sun:
One of the bucket brigades passing buckets of concrete up to the roof. Several of them had long gloves that they brought with them for the job.
This young man made a hat out of a cement bag. It served its purpose well and held up all day! Another has a hoodie on without the shirt to go with it!
Once the buckets get up on the roof, they are emptied into wheelbarrows that are then wheeled across the roof to the area being worked on.
Wheelbarrows carrying the concrete over to the side of the roof where work is being done.
Once the concrete is poured out, another crew of masons are there to smooth it out, make it level and then put a sealing coat of cement on the top. There were 2-3 sets of masons working on both sides of the roof at the same time.
First the concrete was smoothed out with a rake.
Then, it was made level by the masons.
The final sealing coat being spread over the area that is already packed down and level.
Early in the day, both bucket brigades were kept busy and the concrete was poured along the edges and moved toward the middle.
Lots of iron rebar is visible on the roof and not much concrete early in the day.
Later in the day when the roof is almost all concrete.
There were a few interesting side issues involved in the roof pour as well. For one thing, while most of the workmen were involved with the concrete, one of them was tending to the issue of cooking for the whole group that numbered over 100:
3 pots of rice and beans already cooked. Next up was the goat!
The carpenters kept a watchful eye on the roof the entire day, since any disruption in the wood framing could result in a disastrous collapse!
Carpenter Jacob Pierre watches carefully as the masons do their work.
Periodically throughout the day, some ominous looking clouds appeared. Fortunately, none of them brought any rain.
Ominous looking clouds during the day.
In order to get the buckets up to the roof at the far end, the carpenters built a scaffold for the upper ladder to sit on. It was evident that one couldn’t be afraid of heights and work on that scaffold!
Scaffold appears to be suspended in the sky.
While they were working, the head contractor, Boss Jean Lenor, wrote down the names of all the workers, ensuring that they would get paid at the end of the day:
Boss Jean Lenor in the straw hat writing down worker’s names as they work.
Everyone periodically needs a break, right?
Two of the shovel workers taking a break to watch the others work.
One of the fun things during the day was watching the buckets come down from the top roof. When the workers poured the concrete into the wheelbarrows, they threw the buckets onto the floor of the roof. Then, when the wheelbarrow was full, they took each bucket and threw it down to a worker on the lower roof, who then threw it down onto the sand on the ground by the mixer. Here are a couple of airborne buckets:
Bucket in the air as it goes from the roof down one story.
Here’s the bucket as it’s being caught.
Bucket thrown off the scaffold onto the ground by the cement mixer.
As the finishing touches were put on the back side of the roof, everyone congregated at the front, leading to the question “How many people can a roof hold?”
Masons finish the final coat on the back side of the roof.
Everyone congregates at the front of the roof toward the end of the day.
Masons appear to be hanging in the valley as they finish the back corner of the roof.
And, then there were only a few as the sun started to go down and the work was nearly finished.
Final touches are put on the roof by the masons as the sun goes down.
A wonderful, successful day of work that started so early was finally coming to a close. Praise be to the Lord for his blessings!