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Utuado, PR – Weekly Report – Nov 26-30, 2018

December 6, 2018

After several weeks with no director on location a new Project Director for the Utuado project, Herman Bontrager, arrived on November 20. He joined long-term volunteers David Zumpe and Sebastian Groothoff. Marlene and Al Friesen from British Columbia, brothers Art and Johnny Montoya from Phoenix, Arizona and Kyle Horst from Fairfax, Virginia joined the crew along with local employees Rafael Rosario, Javier Negron and Armando Irizarry.

We completed pouring the reinforced concrete beams for Martha Montalvo’s house and then installed the forms to pour the concrete roof. Marlene did a great job of cleaning and organizing the MDS tool trailer. At the end of the week everyone was pleased at the significant progress made in preparing the site for installation of the poured roof before the holiday break begins December 14. Rafael and Herman also spent time overseeing the work of the contractor who is installing the roof on the church building. By the end of the week steel trusses, sheathing and the water shield were installed.

In the next week the reinforcing rods will be put in place for Martha’s house roof and it is hoped the church roof installation will be complete so work can resume to install windows, doors, railings and electrical conduits in the church.

Collaboration on the job and interactions over meals and otherwise between the local team and the volunteers were greatly enriched by having three bilingual people on the team and four volunteers with MDS experience. At the final breakfast Armando tearfully thanked the volunteers for the work done and more importantly for the great relationships that were formed, including the humor that infused our conversations. Thanksgiving dinner with the Montalvo family, beautiful blue skies, a blazing sun and warm fellowship blessed all in a heartwarming cross-cultural experience.

Armando and Javier installing forms
Church roof installation progressing
Installing forms for cement roof on Martha’s house
Pouring reinforced concrete beams