Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A Hot Service Day

The staff housing that needed reparations. If you look carefully you would be able to see the water marks on the wall (it is where the beige line ends at the top)

On Sunday, I had the privileged of joining a group of students and staff members on a service day to help reconstruct a staff house that has been damaged by the floods and do some landscaping to plant some colorful trees for a school. 

The vibrant colored slides, swings and see-saws that welcomed us when we first drove in, and which we helped pay for, were already set up by the company that delivered them. It was so wonderful to see them cemented in the sandy ground, looking cheery underneath the sun enjoying the few children who were playing on them. The smiles and laughter of two local children played on the strings of our students' youthful hearts and, despite their sizes, they jumped on the equipment to try them out.

We then met the principal of the school who was very appreciative of our eagerness to help and start working. He guided us to the staff house that was run down and needed reparations. We were shocked to learn that the water during the floods had reached the second floor and we were able to see the water marks on the walls which towered above us. 

We divided ourselves into two groups; one that started working on patching the second floor of the staff housing and the others that started work on digging the ground for planting. I went with the second group even though in my heart I so wanted to bang the 'crap' out of nails. Little did I know that the work involved in landscaping and digging would take much more effort than just banging some nails into a floor. 

Patching and repairing the wooden floors in the staff housing.

The ground was as hard as rock under the burning sun and it took so much energy and patience just to dig a few inches. We later poured some water to soften the ground but it was still very hard to dig. To cut a loooong story short, we finally began to make headway but by that time I was beginning to feel a little dizzy. I kept pushing myself for another thirty minutes but then my hands started to shake. I reluctantly took a break only because I did not want to faint and cause everyone to leave their work to attend to me. I made my way to a shaded area where I found five other students resting. I drank a bottle of Gatorade and placed some ice on my neck just to cool down a few degrees. That day was a particularly hot day and all those who worked on landscaping felt the heat being emitted from everywhere. 

After 15 minutes, when my shaking hands were under control, I made my way to the staff housing to help out and stay under the shade but continue supporting. Now THAT was fun. I got more satisfaction hitting that nail on the head than digging up the ground for planting. My enthusiasm did not last as I only had four nails to hit and everything was done by that time. The carpenter in charge did not want us to help out with the windows or the side paneling as it took professionals to do it.

We all had to make our way back to the landscaping group and continue digging. 

After an hour, we finished the job and started our long journey back to school. I was grateful that after 12 hours of being away, I made it home just in time for my kids' shower and bed time story.


Annie Collins said...

Isn't it funny how different our lives are at the moment? You making a difference to people's lives and me camping out in a field, knocking buildings down all over the place!!!

db said...

You know I love these kinds of projects, but you have to be careful in the heat. Drink lots of water. YOu should consider Habitat for Humanity
They would let you work on windows, and just about anything else.

Tabouleh said...

Thanks Peter... we have one at school and every time I want to join , I have something already planned for that weekend... maybe next weekend.

Tabouleh said...

I mean next year!