Bro Norman Fadelle (Illinois USA) reports on one of his many busy days whilst here in SA during this month of March.
Bro Ramazini and his wife Sis Sangani rent this crumbling, leaky, two-room building that is located "in the bush", on the way to Pretoria from J'burgLucas & Leona had taken Ramazini and Salinga home the night we had gone to the Congolese meeting 2 Sundays earlier; it was night-time, but we were invited into their house; it was evident that significant repairs were needed -- as this daytime photo revealsHaving agreed for us to come, Ramazini stayed home that day from work; here we began to determine what to tackle firstThe dwelling is home to the 2 parents and 8 children (1 adopted); the 5 oldest were at school; all the beds in this room had to be cleared out before the repairs could start"Before picture" #1 - big holes in the walls. What prompted us to come and make repairs was the story told by one of the boys the night we visited; he described and showed us where he had been bitten by a snake; this injury did not happen outside but when the snake had come into the house through one of the holes in the wall (or so the story went).
"Before picture" #2 = holes in the tin roof, rotting rafters, dangerous wiring"Before picture" #3 - mud was pushed into the wall cracks and let harden; I had to dig it out before cement could be troweled in; the mud crumbled easily"Before picture" #4 - corner crack from floor to ceilingThe van was unloaded of the things Michael had bought and packed for us: besides hand tools and shovels, we brought 2 ladders, 2 bags of easy-to-mix cement, 2 shelves and rails, paint and brushes etc.Michael patched the wall crack which had been "cleaned out" by me (using a screwdriver and rough brushes)Lucas and Randy also had to brush down the wall before experimenting whether the paint would stick; two coats were required, with at least one more come; the man in the corner is named David -- he is the owner of the building, and lives in the back half of the structure; he is an out-of-work construction guy, and asserted that he wanted to help with the repair work. [When we first arrived, David was standing outside, and Lucas confirmed that it would be OK for us to make some improvements to the Ramazini part of the house; I confirmed that the upgrade would not prompt a raise in the rent; David said that he had intended to do some fix-up stuff, but ran out of money; for him, we were a God-send: free labor and material].The painters worked around the patchersRamazini patched the cracks in the floor, and was working here on the threshold between the two roomsDavid was an effective "mud" slinger; Randy was putting on a second coat of paint; this front room was the easiest to work in, since (a) everything was removed from the room except a few bricks left in the center on the floor (b) the walls were relatively smooth; the ladies watched from the storage area shared by both familiesLucas took this and the next shot; one challenge was making the cement stay in the holes especially where there were big gaps; I went outside and picked up sizable stones to stuff into the crevices, a process that worked very well in both rooms; I brought in two tubs of rocks for Michael to use in the second room -- it also required the most cement.A goal was to get all the major cracks filled, with intention to have someone come a second time and plaster the walls -- or at least smooth out the initial troweling effortBreak time -- it was determined that we needed to get more material, and did so at a nearby "Easy Building" center that was surprisingly well stocked. E.g. we purchased some roofing tape that had metal on one side and "tar" on the other; it was designed to fuse with the hot tin which could be accomplished from the inside; it would have been dangerous to attempt getting onto the roof from the outside (rafters would not be able to carry the weight)We also bought some brackets, another bag of quick-mix cement, and a sheet of plywood (for a bed)Lucas also bought lunch food for everyone; we decided to eat offsite, and thus be able to start right into the work when we returned to the houseWhen we got back, we gave the remaining lunch food to Ramazini's family plus David and his wife Nooke; they elected to lay out a picnic blanket and celebrateIt was fitting to have a feastIn case you did not recognize it, that's apple pie being eatenThis plywood would replace R & S's bed slats/boardsLucas also purchased a hot plate for Sangani -- she was having to borrow one from Nooke"After picture" #1 - but in the second room"After picture" #2 - again, second room"After picture" #3 - MIchael had patched every hole in the roof except one -- and that's because he ran out of the metal tapeIt took 3 men to mount this shelfBut they got it straight and firmly attached; the rail underneath the shelf allows hanging clothes etc,It was no small feat getting this shelf level and flush to the wall (which was not plumb)Randy and I were very pleased with the day's labor and results. Sangani said that the 5 older kids would not believe what had happened that day -- until they saw it of course. R&S still had to put furniture & clothes back in, set up the new stove and bed, but that was something they could and should do on their own. What fun to lay out what goes where into the "new" rooms (which still need lots of work, but a solid start has been made).Michael and Lucas were checking the outside for further repairs; Michael thinks he can install proper electricity. Both intend to bring out another team of workers in the near future for upgrade #2. A new roof and rafters would be in order