Building Experiences!

Written by: The Bridge on Tuesday, June 6th, 2006

Working with wood is always an intriguing challenge. Out here in Africa, working with exotic woods and without the proper tools makes it even more of a challenge. Eddy Vetter wanted to get a roof built over three of the containers, to keep them nice and dry, that they would make better storage. So, he got a pile of wood for me and told me to get at it. I looked at the pile of wood that was supposed to be two by fours and wondered if anything could be made from them! I bent down to pick up one piece and I found I could hardly lift it! Unlike at home, the wood isn’t dry, it’s freshly cut and completely saturated with moisture. Out of curiosity, I just had to weight one, so I hauled it over to the scale and found that one 18 ft piece weighed 65 lbs. That means, the final rafter being 24 ft long by 3 ft high, weighs around 190 lbs!

The wood is mostly hard wood, the termites and ants eat up the soft wood in no time. Back home, the wood that we use here would be considered an exotic hard wood, we would pay quite a bit for it. I’d really like to know what kind of wood it is but it�s hard to find somebody who knows stuff like that. This particular type that I had to work with had a beautiful red colour to it, from the picture you can see that the sap looks like blood. Somehow, I got it all over my cloths and now they are permanently stained a dull red colour. I’m wondering if this might not be the famous West African Padauk wood.

To construct the rafter, we used rafter plates that Riverbend had sent along in one of the containers. I couldn’t help but think that Acadia would complete this job in less then 15 minutes, it took us most of the day. We used a sledge hammer to get the plates nailed into place. Nailing the hard wood is quite another challenge. One small miss and the nail gets bent and then it’s useless, they bend like soft wire. One of the women walked past, saw our dilemma, and suggested that we use oil on the nails to get them to go in better, it worked well. We used palm oil, because they process it right where we work, it’s readily available.

The tin that they use on the roof is really thin, very flimsy stuff to work with. I made a real bad job of getting them on straight, but by the time we got the last side on, we got things figured out, reasonably well anyway. It was a learning experience for all of us. The older boys and young boys that help, need to be taught everything, from holding a hammer correctly, to figuring out if forward or reverse works best when putting in screws! For screws, we used the ones that Newdale had sent on a container, they sure worked good for this job. The next job will probably be putting a roof on the container that is used for storing feed, then we’ll start fixing the chicken barns. The younger boys are always eager to help but the older ones need to be pushed quite a bit.

Showing 10 comments

eddie/cascade said:
On: 6th Jun, 2006 at 15:53

I’m sure your having fun Lance. We used to use cement nails sent from Canada. They work better. Maybe there are still some in maintenance shed.

leanne said:
On: 6th Jun, 2006 at 19:50

hey lance, sounds like a real learning experience! you will definitely learn alot of things there that you would never learn here!

the weather is hot here at home too…..though not as sticky and sweaty as there i guess. we’ll just have to keep thinking of you in order to ‘stay cool’…

linda/crystal said:
On: 7th Jun, 2006 at 00:38

Hi son. We really enjoy reading your stories and all you are doing in Palmgrove. How is your health? May the dear lord keep you in his care with good health and wisdom to do his work .We tried to phone you many times already with no luck. so we will have to make do with internet.

Dad is busy doing his usual stuff in the fields. The crops are looking very good so far.
May god keep you in his care.

Mom and Dad

Lance said:
On: 8th Jun, 2006 at 05:51

About the poor phone connection we have. We can’t figure out what the problem is! We can phone out resonably well but it seems like people rarly come through when they try from back home. We’re working on it; maybe it will get better. Strange problem to be having when you think of all the advanced technoligy that we have out there already.

Carrie said:
On: 9th Jun, 2006 at 10:08

Leanne and Lynda should be ashamed of themselves for not having shared the good news yet. 🙂 Emma has a baby brother! “Luke Anthony”

Also, many prayers going out to you all in Palm Grove. Always remember the song: “…nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing, nothing is too difficult for Thee!”

Anonymous said:
On: 9th Jun, 2006 at 21:04

Interesting, but those challenges sure seem to require alot of patience!
Doesn’t the high moisture content of the wood negatively effect the roof’s structure, as it is lost?
Do they extract red palm oil in Palmgrove? It’s extracted from the pulp of the palm nuts,not the kernel. If so, how is this done? Also, what differences do the Palmgrovers have between red palm oil and palm kernel oil? Are they aware of any health benifits associated with these oils? I have read of many, but it would be interesting to know what they think and know concerning this.
Do plantain bananas grow around Palmgrove? If so, how do they use and prepare them as a food source?
One last question, is getting enough protein in your diet only a problem for you, or for all of Palmgrove? How is it dealt with? Or is this not a problem?
If you don’t have time to answer all of the above questions, then that’s okay.
All the best! God bless you all with lots of patience. I am sure it is much needed! May the peace He gives be with you!

Chris/Baker said:
On: 10th Jun, 2006 at 04:14

Greetins Lance & rest of our group of missionaries. This mission trip is greatly intended for Palmgrove. But it seems so circular. So much inspiration is comming back to us, as we read of struggles and joys you are experiencing. Might it be that we here in Manitoba, Canada are in a bigger spiritual danger than the people in Nigeria. With all the riches and material wealth we enjoy here. It’s sobering to see with how little people make do with. It brings us back to the question: What is essential? Are our priorities in order? Does this material wealth impede our walk with God?

Love your Site said:
On: 11th Jun, 2006 at 23:16

No. 6 I think i can help to answer some of your questions.
Palm oil from the fruit and palm kernel from the pit both contain alot of saturated fat but of the two palm oil is the healthier because it has less saturated fat and because it has high antioxidant activity from a significent content of vitamin E
Palmgrove sells what palm oil they can. The palm oil is used for cooking whiel the palm kerel oil is used to make hard soap and balms.
You wondered how plaintain is prepared, it is simply sliced and fryed on a pan, some people like to add a few spices before frying it.
Do the people in Palmgrove get enough protein? I dare say that according to our standards they dont get enough of anything ! They eat alot of beans and that helps with their protein intake. They also have little bits of stock fish and snails in the gari soup and ever now and then a small piece of beef. I hope i helped answer a few questions, maybe Lance could do a “Palm Oil Post” sometime in the future.

Lance said:
On: 13th Jun, 2006 at 06:19

Hi, We are working on a few posts that are related to those questions. Hopefully we will be able to answer some of your questions. Otherwise remind us again in awhile.

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    Anonymous said:
    On: 5th Jul, 2006 at 12:03

    As always a good post 🙂 .