It was the afternoon of Saturday, April 16th. I met at the Tampa airport with the group I was to work with for the following week. I already knew some of the people but others I had never met. I don't even try any more to learn names at the airport, I always forget as soon as they tell me but within a few days, we all know each other like family. We flew from Tampa to Miami and then boarded an 8 hour flight to Santiago Chile. Upon arrival in Santiago, we were met at the airport by Doug and Sharon Kreeger, the missionaries we know in the area. They led us to the seminary where Doug teaches which is where our shipping container was stored and we gathered our tools and food and headed to a town on the outskirts of the city called, San Bernardo.
This trip by far had the best accommodations of all the trips I've been on. I was told the building was used as a retreat center for Catholic priests. It was nice because it had plenty of room and hot water. Sharon had told me that most Chilean homes do not have heat, nor do they have air conditioning, other than a small wood burning stove in one room, that was the case for this building. Though the weather was cool in the evening and mornings, we didn't use the stove.
It was a nice, peaceful area.
We arrived at the job site early Monday morning to an already poured footer and block stacked in a hole in the ground.
We set up scaffolding and began to lay block. By lunch time we had three walls up to the floor level of the second floor. Here is John working on the second day, he received the nickname (Juanito Queso), don't ask me why, it just sounded good. The end of the second day found the three walls up to second level ceiling height, the rear gable laid and the front wall started. We also filled the walls with concrete every two feet. By Wednesday we were ready to put up the first truss, that Jeff had made out in the street. While some of the masons laid the front wall, some of the rest of us began erecting the steel trusses and decking for the second floor. Thursday we finished the floor decking, installed the door frames and windows and prepared the site for the second crew that would be following us. I even had the privilege of laying the last block, for some reason it had been left out. Here is a photo of the building after 16 men worked on it for four days.
During our devotion time during the week, Paul used this little guy as a prop, after a few days I started to notice a resemblance. I asked Paul if he'd had someone in mind when he designed him. Friday we packed our things and loaded them on a bus for a ride into Santiago, on the way the bus started making strange noises so we stopped alongside the road, unpacked our things and waited for a replacement bus. We loaded up on the new bus and headed up a small mountain to a famous Statue of Mary, the mother of Jesus, then went to a neat shopping area where I saw this band playing. We then went to a restaurant for lunch then to the seminary to change clothes for the flight back home. Here are some of my new Chilean friends, Christian, and Alex.
This is a photo of the whole CWE team.
Pictured from the back row, left to right are. Paul, Jeff, Darrell, Jarod, Kevin, Art, Terry, Dave, (center row) Sharon, Kathy, Mike, Michelle, John (Juanito Queso), (front row) JW, Dale, Ray, Bruce and Lannie.
We had a good trip and felt like family by the time the week was through.