Today was the beginning of the work project and the first time most of the team had an opportunity to see the magnitude of the challenge we have in constructing an approximate 180 foot retaining wall — that in some areas will be 18 feet high.
The retaining wall will provide better protection to a student apartment complex at the Nazarene Seminary located in Quito, Ecuador. Considering it was our first day of work — the team made considerable progress on the wall.
Photo #1 shows everything as we found it this morning — which started out in the high 40’s (because Quito is almost 2 miles high in some locations). The workers at the seminary had poured a concrete footer and laid two levels of stone before our arrival.
Photo #2 shows all the activity going on above where the wall is being constructed. There is a huge pile of extremely large stones that have been brought in (we paid for this through our Ecuador project pledges). Many of the stones have to be shaped by hand with a sledgehammer. Those stones are then dropped (or thrown) to the surface where the wall is being built. On an average those stones weigh between 30 and 100 pounds. You will also see a cement mixer on the upper level and a chute — that is used for dropping the cement from the top level to the bottom level.
Photo #3, shows Pastor David Rambarran (Ft. Lauderdale First) and Melroy Francis (Palm City New Hope Fellowship) preparing to throw one of the larger “Face stones” from the top level to the lower level.
Photo #4 is just another perspective showing the apartment complex and the retaining wall. The seminary is located on the Pan American Highway and another major highway in Quito. Nearly all of Quito is mountainous — and the seminary is no exception. They have carved out levels for the various structures that have been built since 1988 when Southern Florida sent in the first Work & Witness teams to dig and pour the footers for the first buildings on the campus. Now it is a beautifully developed campus that includes not only educational programs but also many ministries for the North Andean Field (Ecuador, Venezuela and Colombia) of our South American Region.
Photo #5 shows what the wall looked liked at the end of the workday today. I would estimate the team moved over 8 tons of rock today — ALL BY HAND!
Your prayers are appreciated. There were no injuries!
Some of the team are also building tables for the seminary and painting the on-campus house where Dwight and Carolyn Rich live — our Southern Florida Missionaries in Ecuador.
Tonight the team was deeply moved by the testimony of Yoan Camacaro a recent graduate from the seminary from Venezuela. He will be involved in starting a new church about an hour and a half north of Quito through a new effort in cooperation with Extreme Nazarene. The team is planning to help Yoan, his wife and their 10-month-old son.
Tomorrow will be more effort on the “Great Retaining Wall” and several other smaller projects. Your prayers for the team, Dwight and Carolyn Rich and the entire staff serving with us is sincerely appreciated.
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