As has been mentioned, when we arrived, Bro. Matthew and Sis. LouCinda had already been there for a week. Bro. Matthew found plenty of work to be done. He spent time shoring up bunk beds that needed repairing, building the nice large table you see in some of the courtyard pictures, etc. However, his main burden was to improve the kitchen situation.
Presently they were cooking in the back of the orphanage both outside and also in a little mud lean-to shack.
The downside was that this is also where all the washing, bathing goes on also and it was not a very good situation. When we arrived they didn't even have a cooking pot large enough to feed everyone in one setting so meals had to be cooked in shifts. They were so happy with the two large pots we brought from Nairobi.
A foundation was laid along the side of the orphanage facing the road large enough for a new kitchen as well as a better office.
I know it had to be frustrating dealing with the lack of good lumber and supplies to putting together a work crew on the spur of the moment. I'm sure it was especially so every time he returned from a supply run in town to find them all sitting down waiting for his return instead of working.
Manual labor took on a new meaning when I saw a man sitting out beside some boulders for two days straight. Matthew had ordered gravel. This man would break off chunks of rock with a sledge hammer, then sit down and painstakingly break them into uniform chunks of gravel with a smaller tool. The boulders were so hard that the sledge would simply bounce and bounce off it. They would build a fire underneath the rock to help it to break more readily.
The patience and hard labor began to pay off. The foundation was poured. Masons began to build the walls.
The rooms were taking shape.
The masonry was pretty rough by our standards, but once the walls are completed, they are covered with a layer of plaster and then resemble a solid cement wall.
Everyone was excited to watch the progress. At about any given time there would be a group of people stopped on the road to see the progress.
One day I slipped out of children's meeting to take a couple of pictures because I knew they were beginning to remove roof sheeting. The whole roofline was undergoing a makeover. I could not believe my eyes as I came around the corner. I guess that approach was not fast enough.
Matthew had that crew work the whole side of the roof off the building and carry it across the drive. You should have seen the grunting and heaving. I was astounded.
They settled it on the ground near the wellsite and continued working.
We ladies were talking about how nice it would be to have water in the kitchen. No sooner did we mention it then a crew was digging a water line and before days end there was a nice spigot in the new kitchen room!
This lumber was used to build trusses for the new roof.
When it was time to put them up, once again it was all done manually. We watched, holding our breath. Some pulled...
And they were up.
Matthew surprised them with his magnetic hammerhead when he stuck a nail on it and reach up and slammed a nail through the brace to support it. This is when Bro. Peter walked up and said, "Matthew is not a half carpenter, he is a FULL carpenter."
The work continued to the very last moment. We left on Thursday morning to return to Nairobi. Matthew stayed to work one last day. He had a flue constructed and installed it so that a fire could be build inside the kitchen and not fill the room with smoke. He then got on public transport and traveled through the night arriving at our hotel around 3 a.m. We so appreciate all the labor he accomplished.
Since our return home, the road side of the roof has been covered with iron sheeting. They are lacking about 15 iron sheets for the other side. They are also waiting for doors and windows to install in the openings so they can complete the plastering of the walls.
We pray that this will be a blessing to the workers at the orphanage when completed..