Thursday, January 25

The Building - Oct. 16, 2006

As a ministry, what do you do if you were kicked out of Belgium, are renting a house for an office in Madrid, and the lease on the house is running out? You build a new building.

I spend a couple of hours everyday on this construction project. I photograph details for the overseers in the U.S., and videotape daily for use in promotional materials and historical documentation. This also involves alot of computer time manipulating images. Although this task is not one of my opportunities for stretching my creative skills, it has become an important part of my daily routine. And as a consequence, I have gotten to know the Spanish-speaking workers quite well. That is good, because this building project will continue for a year or more.

The guy drilling into the wall is George (hor-hay) who is from Ecuador. He is the yard boss and he does it all, always wearing his baseball cap backwards. He is proud to tell me that he knows people in Chicago (shee-koggo).

The materials and procedures are very unique. There is already enough concrete in the building to require a bunker-buster bomb to penetrate the foundation. I have not seen any wood. Here is a brick block with 82 holes. Copious amounts of cement bind these holes to the next block. Trapped air is further insulation against the Spanish heat.

Here is a wall. The pipes seem random. They are.

This is Eduardo drilling a meter-square hole into the floor of the old swimming pool on the property. He is very young and has a child. Eduardo and I always wave to each other in the morning.

Very often, specialilized craftsmen come in. These past two weeks have seen steelworkers preparing the skeleton of the building. They laughed when I showed up on the jobsite a week ago using a Roman helmet for a hard-hat.