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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Worthwhile viewing

For those of you who want to read something worthwhile about the school here, check out the Nafie sisters' blog:
http://mrnjln326.wordpress.com/

Also, there's a new video on the Adams family page:
http://karenoutreach.org/

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Diapers are more handy than I thought

Mar. 5 Sabbath

To top off another good Sabbath, we piled as many people as we could in (and on) the truck and went to a waterfall at the national park.  I explored upstream and took a trail to another waterfall.  It was farther than I expected: about 2km until I came to the beautiful pool with two small waterfalls flowing into it.  After pulling myself away from the refreshing water, I hurried back, hoping I hadn't made everyone wait too long for me.  

They hadn't waited too long.  At the main park area, I was greeted by a group of boys who had been swimming in the waterfall pool there.  They tried to get a message across to me, but I was unable to receive it.  Finally, one of the boys sheepishly showed me a diaper.  It had the message on it that Miles would come back to pick me up.  So I had lots of extra time to enjoy the beauty there, Miles got to put 20 miles more on Micah's motorbike, and a bunch of boys got something to laugh about.  I'd say the extra trouble I caused was worth it.  

Please don't tell short versions of this story that go anything like this: Will had a problem near the waterfalls, so he needed Miles and miles to be put on a motorbike... and a diaper...

Mar. 12 update

Last week was all about stairs for me: a week's worth of labor for two flights of stairs.  I'm that slow.  

On Friday the 4th, Harvey Steck, probably the future principal of this school, arrived.  When I was getting his hut ready, I noticed just how steep his walkway was, and decided to take an hour on Sunday to carve in some stairs to the hut.  I soon found out just how crumbly the clay there was, and was wondering if I needed to clear a new walkway to replace the one I had just destroyed.  Then a rock caught my attention, and I realized my opportunity to play Flintstones for the morning.  I've never built stone stairs to withstand monsoons before: especially not without filter cloth.  I'll have to find out if I built a flight of stairs or a surprise flight path for the rainy season.  

After lunch, just when I was about to get to work, I decided to play some more, so I built a stone landing for the volunteers from Tennessee.  I knew I didn't need to, since it probably wouldn't rain  for months, but couldn't resist.  A few days later it did rain, and it rained here both days afterward also.  I guess it pays to play Flintstones after all.  

On Monday, I got the request to build new stairs for the chapel, since the bottom rung kept falling off.  Also, they were far from ideal: each 2x4 tread   had a rise of 12 inches.  And mothers would carry their kids up and down these stairs.  And students would sometimes go up or down 3 at a time (as in, there would be 3 kids on one rung jostling for position).  Good thing the Karen people have fine-tuned senses of balance: I didn't hear of any accidents.  

Anyway, Laren offered to help me build the stairs.   He had the same experience level as me: we had both seen stairs built.  We had two half-sawn logs for stringers, and they didn't give us any extra length to play with.  So we spent Tuesday doing engineering (actually, basic math) on a chalkboard and reinforcing the joists of the chapel entrance to handle heavy stairs.

Laren and his family left on Wednesday, but fortunately, the gardener here helped me do a lot of the labor from then on.  Since all the lumber here is the equivalent of rough-cut (or very rough cut), and I wanted all the treads to fit tightly in their slots, there was piles of labor - at least that's my excuse.  Anyway, we got the stairs done just on time for Friday evening worship.  They were an excellent learning experience.

On Friday, I again found myself in the position of not having a gift to give for my mom's birthday.  So I had some of the students and staff here give her a gift instead.  It worked great: I'll have to remember this trick for later.