Friday, January 14, 2011

Day Seven: Happy Birthday, Trevor!

Day Seven: Happy Birthday, Trevor!  (or Jared, or whichever one you are!)

More big work today at the site, as new huge piles of stuff showed up, including steel rods to support our concrete walls, a monster pile of sand, some new rope and other pulley parts, and another wheelbarrow.  We needed another wheelbarrow because we took apart one of the first three that we bought to use its axle to fashion an even bigger, even cooler pulley that (we hope) will carry even heavier loads. 

Luke was the mastermind of the new pulley, though, as usual, all of us joined in at some point in the development of it to weigh in with ideas.  We got fatter rope and strung it between trees that are even farther apart than our second zipline (the first one was MUCH less ambitious than we have now become).  It took some metal drilling, some blacksmithing, some improvising, and a whole lot of patience, but we finally got the thing running pretty smoothly.  Having done so, we noticed the flaw in the plan: in order for the pulley to run smoothly, the top of the rope needed to be so high that we could barely reach it to put loads onto it.  When we get to even bigger loads (like 94 pound bags of cement), it would be almost impossible to lift them to where they need to be. 

So, a set of people (all guys this time) kicked into solving the height problem by building a platform on which to stand to connect the loads.  As you can no doubt imagine, they spent quite a bit of time trying to make this thing without any of the usual materials that one might use to build such a platform.  They got so involved in the project that we started to wonder if they were spending more labor trying to save labor than the labor that it would have taken to just carry the loads down the steps with no pulleys.  We are rather convinced that it will all pay off in the end, so we plugged away and let them get close to finishing before we left the site for the day. 

We intended (but failed) to leave early because we had a birthday to celebrate.  Our team member Trevor turned 22 today so we wanted to make sure to stop and acknowledge how much we appreciate his presence in our group.  We went to a local restaurant that overlooks the ocean (at least during daylight hours) and we had the place almost to ourselves.  We mingled a bit, ate quite a lot, and listened to Charles tell us about the Carib people and their history.  It took us awhile to realize that none of us had ever been to dinner with a recent head of state before. 

And important though he is, Charles knocked himself out on our behalf and made sure that two cakes were delivered to us from the “big city” of Roseau about and hour and a half away.  There was a chocolate cake and what they call a “butter” cake, each of which bore the message “Happy Birthday, Trevor,” spelled correctly.  (And with the correct name!  We don’t know why, but we all keep reversing Trevor’s and Jared’s names, which is maddening to them and to us.  They are great friends, so that status might be one reason that we could get them mixed up, but mostly, it’s just a fluke every time it happens.  Anyway, back to the cake.)  Because birthday cakes aren’t part of the tradition in the Carib Territory, this whole undertaking was quite daunting; still, Charles wanted Trevor’s birthday to be as happy as it could be and he decided that such happiness could be achieved only in the presence of cake. 

Charles sang and danced for us a bit and then several of us joined in.  The restaurant owner was playing U.S. American pop songs from the ‘80s and ‘90s, some of which were “not by the original artist.”  For whatever reason, hearing this music from some other era just made the whole thing feel more festive.  Even so, we gathered our things at around 10:15, as we still have work tomorrow.  We are also planning a little excursion, which we will tell you all about later. 

We are signing off for tonight because it’s been a long day, but we urge you to send Trevor good birthday wishes if you are his Facebook friend or a friend from school.  And watch for our next birthday to hit in just a few days . . .

Our new friend Ashton

The spring at the beginning of the day

The spring at the end of the day

Our new heavy-duty pulley system (version 1)

The piles of rock and sand that we've moved by pulley (so far)

Ton being a beast on the shovel

Christina and Ashton helping pull the bucket up

Little Carib shoveling

Trying to get the second pulley into play

Admiring the bod

Ashton checking out the worksite

Crack the whip

Do it, Scott!

Sandbagging it

The long walk home

Um . . . how do I use this thing?

Matt accidentally killed a crab.  With a shovel.  Ew. 

Look!   Two fully operational pulley systems that work!

The birthday boy

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