Nov 10, 2008

Week 2 - Posts and Beams - digging into the limestone.

Bob, Larry and I met with David our builder and his father, Benficio “Pappy”, who is the foreman of the building crew. He’s the fellow standing next to the crowbar. We gave them our floor plans and each site was measured out with string and the positions of the post holes marked and dug by hand. The top layer is dirt and rocks, but just a little way down is solid limestone, the foundation of this whole part of Mexico. What they couldn’t dig out by crowbar and post hole digger, they attacked with a jackhammer. Each hole goes down about three feet.
On Tuesday morning an big old flatbed arrived loaded with huge posts and beams. This load was the bulk of the material to build the framework for our three palapas.
With ropes, pulleys, levers and manpower, each pole is raised and put in its hole. Secured there with braces, they add a cement mix.
By the next day, they are climbing the poles, adding pulleys and raising the beams.
Notice in the photos that nearly all workers wear only plastic flip-flops, with the odd one in running shoes. No one wears hard toed work boots, hard hats, gloves or any other conventional safety equipment. When they are up the ladders or up in the framework running chain saws and big drills to fit and bolt the frames together, they are barefooted. Below them are the piles of building material, rocks and mounds of dirt and cut off debris. Aiyee!!

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