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The Fire 5: The Walls Go Up


MENU: Suriname Fire and Rebuilding Report

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1. The Fire: Before and After March 2003 

2. Cleanup and Rebuilding April-May 2003 

3. New School Year Preps June-July 2003 

4. Rebuilding Begins
July-August 2003 

5. The Walls Go Up September-November 2003 

 6. First Floor Shell November-December 2003 

7. Interior Work First Floor January-April 2004 

8. School Construction
January-April 2004 

9. The Second Story
May-August 2004 

10. Fine-Tuning First Floor September-October 2004 

11. Second Story
September-January 2005 

12. Panorama Comparisons

January 2005

13. More School Scenes March 2005 

14. Final, Graduation
2005 April-August 2005 

15. The Finished Project September 2005 





After the foundation and floor was laid, steel pillars were set in place to help share the load of the second story (block and cement), as well as provide structure for the cement block walls. 


Pillars are placed every 8 feet throughout the structure

Steel was used to provide greater strength in the structure.  This building is located about 80 feet away from a main road which has heavy truck traffic from time to time.  Whenever a fully loaded truck goes down the road, the old house would vibrate slightly because of the sandy soil and the high water table. 



The beams are then placed on top of the pillars to spread the load of the second story weight.  For the present, the beams will not be covered by a ceiling, saving ceiling costs.  They will simply be painted.


Simultaneous to the installation of the beams, the drainage system for the water run-off is being installed on the front side of the building.



In the back of the building, the septic tank for the house and school is being built.  Suriname does not have water treatment plants, so the run-off from the septic goes into a canal system which takes the water out to the river.  For many years, this drained into trenches on the school property, but those were later enclosed and pipes installed to reroute it to the drainage ditches.

At long last, the actual walls begin with the "laying of the first block" ceremony on September 15, 2003 (six months and seven days after the fire).  A cornerstone it is not, but in Suriname, the first block is just about as significant.  Rev. Rudy Poettcker (bending over with trowel) and Rev. Asgar Hamid (squatting looking at the camera) partake of the honors with a great portion of the school body partially noticeable in the background.


Blocks, blocks and more blocks are laid throughout the structure for the completion of the block walls.  The steel pillars are slotted to receive the end of each row of blocks providing for a much more stable securing of the wall than with a traditional cement pillar.


Walls along the back section overlook the diagonal slab for the garage, over which a balcony for the residential portions above will be situated.


This picture demonstrates the method of cement mixing used in 1982 when we built the school building seen below with the red roof behind the ready-mix cement.  First you lay down cement mixing bed several days before.  After that is hard, you put on it five wheelbarrow loads of river gravel, then put three loads of river sand, and finally a number of bags of cement.  This is then dry mixed very well, backbreaking shovel-full by shovel-full and shaped with high walls and a cleared center.  That is the easy part.  Then water is added to the center and the walls are systematically brought in for mixing until you have the right consistency of wet cement (much heavier than when it was dry).  From there it is offloaded by shovel into the wheelbarrows and carted to wherever it is needed.


With the progress of the situation in Suriname, ready-mixed cement is generally cheaper and faster than in 1982, so the ready-mix trucks keep the cement supplied for the large pouring jobs.
Block laying took all of September and part of October.



OCTOBER, 2003 October was primarily focused on plastering and much of the electrical and plumbing work needed prior to the final plastering of the walls.


You are now looking down the main front hallway where the workers are plastering the cement blocks walls.  The plaster is mixed by hand using white sand and cement.  When mistakes were made, they would tear the wall down and start again.  A number of walls were plastered more than once.  Such things generally took place when the foreman was not around.

To the left (not seen) is the entrance to the chapel.  To the right, before the first door is the entrance to the school reception area.  The first door on the right is the main entrance to the school offices.  The later doors are for back entrances to the school offices.  At the end of the hall is the entrance to the school library and some librarian and teacher offices.





Here we see a man repairing portions of the plaster on one of the office walls.


The building, viewed from one end with the front to the left with the walls up. 


After the wall is complete, the next stage is to ready the second floor (first floor ceiling).  Heavy corrugated steel will be laid over the beams into which cement will be poured.  In order to prepare for carrying the weight of all the cement until it is cured, wood posts will be placed upon the first level floor under the corrugated steel sheeting. 


2X4 lumber brought in for second floor supports.


Wood laid out inside the building in preparation for supporting the second floor during the preparation and cement pouring and curing stages. 



During the next week, the supports are set in place throughout the building.  The first floor is finally ready to be enclosed enabling the interior work to begin irrespective of the weather conditions.

To continue, click here to go to the next stage of the building process. While you are waiting for the new page, please pray for God to provide the finances needed to complete the rebuilding process.


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