This was our fourth effort at finishing the houses and I’m happy to say that, with the help of four guys from the US, we were able to get them into move-in shape! In all of our house building, the point has remained the same: to be able to move into the tribe, start learning the language, and be able to, Lord willing, present the gospel message in the heart language of the people!
On Thursday, January 14th, four guys, one lady, and a baby arrived in PNG to help us with the building. The team consisted of John Parker (a carpenter), Bob White (a cherry farmer), George Siegele (a car mechanic), Josh (a pastor from our church) and Julie Kellso with their youngest son Caleb. The remarkable part of this team is that two of these guys came out for the last house building trip in November and were willing to come back just two months later for this one! Julie Kellso stayed in Madang to help our wives while we were building.
Our goal for this trip into the village: to get the houses “move in ready”, meaning for both houses to have at least some electricity, running water, propane (for cooking) and plumbing.
We left Friday morning with the building team, building supplies, and our personal luggage. First, we took a Kodiak from Madang to Saidor.
Saidor is a small airstrip close to the coast and about a 20 minute helicopter flight away from Mawarero. Here is where we loaded everyone onto the helicopters and flew in.
And here’s us actually flying into Mawarero.
Solar Electric System
On each house we put up 12 solar panels. This involved building wood structures to hold the panels, lugging those up on the roof, screwing them in, connecting the panels, and bringing the line into the house!
Since I did the plumbing on our house, I got to do the plumbing again! (After much thought and consideration, I have decided that I don’t ever want to be a plumber) Josh, and sometimes George, helped with this task.
For drinking water we attached PVC pipes up to the side of the house, which then directed the rain water to the large water container on the side of the house.
Jeremy and I worked on this for the Cann’s house, and then Josh and I worked on this for our house. The best part about this was when it started raining and we got to see the water run down the gutters and into the tank! For the Cann’s house, we hooked the solar up, finished the gutters, and then rain came that night, so we could actually test the whole system out in the same day, since some sinks were installed inside the house — that was pretty sweet seeing the water come out of a faucet. It all worked together — the water which was caught on the roof, then directed to the tank, then pumped with the water pump, which was powered by the solar power, and then streaming out through the plumbing in the sinks!
For our house, it didn’t rain until the last night so we couldn’t test the water out until the morning we left, but praise God, it worked (after George helped me fix a leak)!
We ended up only putting gutters up one side of each of the houses to save time. We are planning on finishing the other side once we move in. (One side alone won’t provide enough water for each family).
We had an electrician come with the first US team and he installed all of the electrical on our house (thank you Happygod!). This time, we were planning on doing it unless someone on the team coming knew how to do it. And it turned out that Bob knew how to install electrical wiring!! That was a huge answer to prayer.
Zach and Bob worked on this most of the time, and Bob pretty much single handedly installed all of the solar components which went inside the house…which were quite complicated, as you can see
Floors and Walls
Oh, I’m glad that we got so many walls and floors done–it means we won’t have to do as many moving in! In order for the floors to last over the coming years, we (myself, Jeremy, Josh, and John Parker) sanded and sealed some of them.
By the end of it, the floors were sanded and sealed for the master bedroom, bathroom, hallway and kitchen, and just about all the walls were installed about 8 feet up, leaving a gap above that.
Cabinets and sinks
Josh, bless his heart, put more IKEA furniture together than you can shake a stick at. Yes, we brought IKEA furniture for our kitchen cabinets and bathroom and hall cabinets. The thinking behind this was to save time initially in installing everything instead of building them from scratch — and it definitely did. An added bonus to this was that the furniture was lighter in weight then making everything out of hardwood, so we probably saved money and time in flying it in as well!
Woohoo, now bugs can’t fly into our houses! At least not through the windows. Hopefully, they won’t find the hundreds of holes and cracks throughout the houses…
The stairs on the Cann’s house were also completed, and Bob put some railings up — less opportunity for our kids to fall off. Also, we got some battery covers over the Cann’s solar batteries and we’ll make something similar for ours hopefully when we move in.
We installed the washing machines in both houses.
We extended our roof. This was because when we built it originally, we ended up building it too short and the rain was slowly destroying everything.
We had some special pig skin meat, hair even included!
We put the freezer/fridge in place. So technically we bought two freezers and another component that regulates the temperature of the second freezer so we can make it a fridge whenever we want…which will probably be most of the time.
We inherited a cat. There he is….
We saw some wildlife.
We also put windows in the Cann’s house (they weren’t done yet), outside doors on their house (we don’t have any interior doors for the rooms inside yet) and probably some other things I’m forgetting and don’t have pictures for.
To maximize our usage of the helicopter and plane, we flew in some personal supplies on the Kodiak when it came to pick us up, and then flew them into the village.
Then we flew home!
We came home and hung out with the building team for another day, and then said goodbye Saturday morning.
Thank you, Bob, for your 16 hour work days and for being such a joyful worker on all things electrical, as well as helping us understand things along the way. Thank you, John Parker, for all the carpenter skills, for the tireless work, and for coming back! Thank you, George, for also coming back to help, and for always thinking of better and easier ways of doing things! Thank you, Josh, for tirelessly putting together IKEA furniture, and for being willing to do whatever was asked and for your shepherding care. Thank you, Julie, for helping our wives while we were gone–it was a great help! Thank you also, Josh and Julie, for being away from your kids to come help us (and thank you Kellso kids for being away from your parents). Thank you to everyone else who helped in getting this latest team out here and being a part of the gospel moving forward in Papua New Guinea!
We are praising God that this season of house building is coming to an end, and looking forward to the next season of living in the tribe and language learning!