February 23, 2010

Trinidad & Tobago 2010, part three

As much fun as the trip was, it was a lot of hard work.
The "mission" of our trip was to lay tile on the entirety of the sanctuary floor, which was just plain cement when we arrived. We also painted the entire inside of the sanctuary, which was two stories high, as you can see in the photos below.
The first day of work, I helped with the tiling. Quick-set is what was used to lay the tile; it's basically the cement. Not only did we have to spread Quick-set on the floor before placing a tile on it, we had to coat the back of each tile with Quick-set as well. This we called "buttering" the tiles and Jaela and I buttered over 300 tiles that were laid on day one. Each tile was 16x16 inches, and the Quick-set had to be spread in a very even, thin layer, all the way to the edges and corners of the tiles. It was a good work out for the arms and I had a nice blister on the palm of my hand at the end of the day.
All of us rotated jobs throughout the week, and on day two, I started helping with the painting. I did this until almost all of the painting was done on Thursday morning. Although it was hot (high 80's) we obviously were indoors, and the sanctuary had an abundance of windows and doors which were kept open. Also, six or seven giant fans were brought in, so although we were sweating all day, we always had at least a nice breeze going. We all reminded each other frequently to stop for water/gatorade breaks so as to make sure no one got dehydrated.
I also helped grout the tiles. This was really fun! Our knees and backs ached from bending over the tiles for hours, but I so enjoyed filling the cracks with grout, then using the foam to clear away the excess grout to leave a nice, clean filling.
Laying tile is quite the process: preparing the Quick-set, buttering the tiles, laying the tiles, waiting 24 hours for the freshly-laid tiles to dry, cutting tiles to fit around the perimeter of the room, grouting the tile, waiting an hour or so for the grout to dry, washing the tiles with a sponge and water, re-washing the tiles, and buffing them with a cloth to make them shine. Whew.
We worked all the way until lunchtime on Saturday, and then we had a flight at 2:30 to fly over to the island of Tobago.
It was amazing watching the sanctuary transform day by day. Unfortunately I don't have pictures of the completely finished sanctuary, but along with other photos I'm missing, those will be forthcoming when I collect them from others on the trip.
The tiles we laid, pre-grout. The church designated white

tiles to be where the chairs are placed and the red-marbled
tiles to represent the aisles.

A view of the mountains from the church - magnificent.

Three of my girls - Andrea, Hannah, and Andrea.

You can see the painting in progress...

A view of the street directly in front of the church. The little

booth across the road sold all sorts of stuff as well as
snacks and drinks. In Trinidad they have Banana Pop
and Pear Pop.

The sanctuary. This is the morning of day two; you can see the tile that was laid on Monday.

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