There's an old episode of "Wipeout!" where a young lady is flying through the course, across the big red balls, and nothing seems to be in her way... until she reaches the top of the platform and can't find the pole she is supposed to jump, and if left standing there yelling "where's the pole!?" while it stares her square in the face.


I thought of her a lot today. Everywhere I looked there was a pole going in somewhere. At one point in the afternoon, it was so hot and I was so tired other people started looking like poles. We've essentially formed three teams: 1 team doing the advance work: Digging holes (and dropping and cementing some posts as well). The second team spent the entire day dropping posts (got another 12 finished), while the third team is up on the scaffolding (yes Tyson, it's real now! Not just 2x4s propped against the wall!) dropping the panels. We finished 17 full panels-at 5ft each, a now completed 135ft of wall, and it looks great.

 For those of you having a hard time picturing how the wall works, or what all is involved:

 Step 1: Hand dig a hole mimimum 3ft deep, roughly 2ft wide.

Step 2: Drop premade concrete pillar into said hole (it takes at least 4 grown men to move one of these pillars. 5 if I'm one of the men. These things are heavy.)

Step 3: Drop large rocks into said hole to brace and help level pillar (either hunt for rocks and carry them over, or hope the skid steer blesses you with a well timed load of rocks.)

Step 4: Make sure pillar is level, dump premade (by other team members) concrete into hole from pile left by the ever-gracious skid steer (or "bobcat" for the less mechanically inclined). Really make sure it is level.

Step 5: R Place 2x4 spacers in between the newly planted pillar (in the grooves-these grooves come in handy down the road) and the one on the end from the previous day (after the first one, they can go to each other), then ratchet-strap them together so that the pillars stay the right distance apart and unmoved while they set. Really really make sure it is level.

Step 6: Repeat 5ft down the line.

Once out of pillars, let stand and cool for 24 hours. "Sauce" should thicken, and voila! Pillars! But you are not done J

 Step 7: Stack wall panels in stacks of 9(ish), 3 stacks wide for skid steer to pick up and bring (see why we love the skid steer so much?)

Step 8: Set up scaffolding by now unstrapped and firmly cured pillars. 2 dudes up on scaffolding, 2 dudes passing panels up the scaffolding.

Step 9: 5ft x 1ft Panel goes up (and it's solid concrete) on scaffold, then slides down from top in the two grooves on the sides of the pillars on either side. 2 more dudes grab it from the scaffold dudes on the other side (while the second 2 dudes collect the next panel) and drop it to the ground (confused yet?) Level that first panel off at the bottom.

Step 10: Repeat 9-10 more times depending on height of wall in that spot.

 Annnnnd, presto!

 You have now completed one wall panel. 5ft. Rinse and repeat as necessary.


 By the end of Saturday, the goal is to have, at minimum, another 100ft done there, and an additional 135ft (17 sections) done on the "problem" piece.

 Which brings us to the problem piece: We are here on rush assignment to finish this wall as quickly as possible because of some issues Marc and Haiti Arise have been having with the placement of the wall (even though it is on their property). That hasn't totally gone away. Marc was meeting with some people this evening, but it is pressing to get a specific piece done as much as possible. A lot harder to make a stink about a wall already in place than to meddle with markings and stringline! Pray for Marc as he meets with the families, and also pray that we would be able to make good progress over the next few days to help them get past the hurdle that continues to be the burr in the shoe, so to speak.

 Beyond that, we're exhausted, sore, but having fun and enjoying working together. Bedtime is a welcome end to the day! Which is where I'm off to now...


stephen thiessen [associate pastor to students]

cornerstone church // saskatoon SK // 306.931.4949

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