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The Fire 10: Fine-Tuning the 1st Floor


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 



During 2003 Rev. Rudy Poettcker was able to secure his visa to again come to the United States. That nightmare of a problem was now over, though there would still be longer than usual waits at the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Services. But with a five year visa in hand, it was now possible to travel to the U.S. So, during 2004, Rev. & Mrs. Poettcker were again able to spend a few months in the U.S. doing a great deal of buying. Mrs. Poettcker was able to visit her father in Canada prior to his death.

During this time, the RCM board was using all its resources to assist in trying to figure out how to proceed with the building program when we were out of money. Also, we had many building decisions with respect to the roof design. These decisions were made in late May 2004 as soon as Rev. Poettcker arrived in the U.S. so that the roof work could be done in Suriname during his absence under the supervision of Rev. Hamid.

At the same time, many additional decisions were made with respect to making the building energy efficient. A unique purchase for Suriname was made utilizing "radiant barriers" (a means of cutting heat intake into an attic by about 20-30% -- a very significant reduction in tropical climates). Air-conditioning equipment was purchased through the kind assistance of Ram Manufacturing (manufacturers of refrigeration coolers of all sizes), the owner of which serves on the board of RCM. Insulation was also provided by this company and a container was rented to make a voyage to Suriname. The container arrived in Suriname and was finally cleared during September, at which time the work was able to proceed. Again, to save on expenses, we utilized much of our own local school labor.

In order to be able to proceed with the building, some non-interest loans were arranged for the school to enable it to move as far possible forward so as to enable the much needed classrooms and office space on the second floor, in addition to the residence space to relieve those who have now been living more for two years in temporary housing. It was through this means that the work on the preceeding page (particularly the roof) and the work on the following pages was able to be completed. (See main page for financial status.)


While the outside of the school remains in appearance very much like a construction site, the first floor finally took upon a more finished look inside, particularly in that the roof was now on and the leaking was largely stopped except when the rains blew sideways. Putting the walls on the second floor largely stopped that.


The front car entrance of the school to the right of the brown post is where cars will turn in to drop off or pick up their children.

When you move from the outside to the inside, we have fine-tuned it quite a bit and are now functioning with a little more class than when we first moved in.

As you enter the building through very secure doors, there is a waiting room just to the right of the sign you see saying "OFFICE". The door just behind the office sign is to the office directly. Straight ahead is the library and back of the building classrooms. To the left are the doors into the chapel which also serves as the place of worship for First Presbyterian Church of Paramaribo.


Inside the office the school secretary attends to several students and teachers needing various things. The new cabinets are those completed by two Canadian volunteers who came down for several months, one of which returned again later in 2004 and plans on staying for about a year, we hope more. He has an interest in one of our single teachers.




The school secretary is Mrs. Marina Wong Loi Sing, working at her computer.


Once into the main office, there are additional side offices for the Administrator and Headmaster as well as the bookkeeper/accountant. Above is the office of Rev. Asgar Hamid, Administrator for the school as well as pastor for the First Presbyterian Church.


One of the classes studying here in the new first floor of the building is the English as Second Language (ESL) class directed in this case by Mrs. Sharilyn Poettcker, seen in the very back of the class working with a student. Most of the ESL students come from other countries and speak no English when they arrive. Our approach is to immerse them in English in the classes and then provide a special class for them where they concentrate on quick English acquisition. They are generally quite capable in English within 6 months and generally up to their norm within a year, two at the most.


The chapel is used regularly by various age groups of the elementary and secondary school.

Harry Lewis (left), our volunteer teacher from Florida, and Jonathan Van Dyken, our volunteer teacher from Ontario, enjoying the opportunity to grade in the school office rather than at home.


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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