Saturday, April 11, 2009

Vidor Texas Feburary 2009

In February of 2009 a Nebraska team of 6 particiated in a trip to Vidor Texas to help rebuild what we thought was going to be an old nursing home. Our plan was to rewire the facility to allow it to be used for following teams as a place to eat, sleep, and spend non working hours telling tall stories about other trips. When we arrived we hooked up with about 40 others who came to help with the wiring. We found that plans had changed since we left. The building we were to work on was filled with asbestos and had to be removed before we could begin working. So plan "B" was to wire a new church facility in the same area.

Each morning we gathered in the center of the facility we were wiring to receive instruction, teaching, and encouragement for the day. This was the largest team that I have been on. We stayed at a church that was a center for meal distribution after hurricane Ike went through the area. Our sleeping area was several modular buildings about the size of single wide trailers which were filled with bunk beds. Our shower facilities were two remodeled steel shipping containers with 6 showers and a washer and dryer in each one. Meals were provided by the cooking team of three that was part of the team. Among the team members we had one EMT and one nurse.

Here is a picture of two of the team members. On the right was big Jake and he has a height of seven foot four inches. On the left is shorty and he has a height of four foot eleven. We just thought it would be kind of funny to get a picture of the two standing together. Big jake didn't need ladders much. He'd just reach up and work on anything he wanted on the ceiling. It was real interesting to watch people as he would amble into a Mc Donald's with the team. Almost invaribly someone would want a picture with him. He even got his picture taken with a girls soccer team at one stop.

This is one of our team members wiring a breaker box. These boxes do not come all put together. There are lots of assembly required before hanging them on the wall. We had well over 100 circuits to wire and several boxes were required. In the five days we worked over 7,000 feet of wire was installed and half of that required conduit. Each circuit was wired to a portion of the build and conduit had to be run to a junction box in that area of the building. From there the different circuits up to four would be dispersed to the plugs and lights for a couple rooms or walls. The large team was broken down into smaller teams each with a person in charge of the smaller group. Each smaller group was given a designated area to work on in the building. We saved the church several thousand dollars by helping with the wiring.
This is what's known as a crawdad tower. The crawdad burrows down into the water table which lies about 8 inches below the grass and builds a tower from the dirt removed from the hole. The church yard was filled with towers from the crawdads.

I decided I was gonna get me a crawdad just for fun. I dug up many a hole but never seen a single crawdad. The local people thought it great entertainment to watch how this old Nebraska boy hunted crawdads. I'm not sure how they catch em there but my method was definitely a bust.
The wires that were installed into the conduit pipes to the junction boxes were up to nine individual wires that had to be pulled through the pipe. The proceedure required a stiff fish wire to be pushed through the pipe out the other end. Then the wires were fastened to the fish wire with tape and as the wires were pulled through the pipe they were continually gooped up with some kind to slick stuff to make them slide through the pipe easier. It was quite a process to watch for sure. I learned quite a lot about electrical wiring.