Sheeet, it’s all about the wire…
(Written by Steph)
Well, we wanted to spend more time in the toilet, and we certainly got what we wished for. That night I started feeling strange – I put it down to the hot sun and physical exertion of the day and went to bed early, happy that the next day was Saturday and the weekly day off. We planned to use this day to do some exploring, but the day came and went, and all Nick and I had seen was the bathroom. Maybe it was the chicken burger we had eaten the night before, or maybe we had wrongly presumed that the salad, in the very western restaurant that we had been recommended, had been washed in purified water. Either way, come Sunday we were in no for state to work, and so, we resigned ourselves to another day in bed, frustrated that we had signed up for volunteering on Tuesday and had only managed 2 and a half days of actual labour so far.
Monday came, and we got up early so we could plonk ourselves in the spot where the sign-up board was due to be placed, ready to pounce on it like vultures to a dying man. If it sounds crass, that’s because it was. Rubble work outnumbered 50 homes 5:1 and there were usually only 2 spots for day volunteers. Call us lame, but we REALLY wanted to be on 50 Homes that day. And we were. Phew!
The home that our team were working on had had the foundations dug, and the main poles secured in the ground. The next stage was to make the home earthquake-proof by creating a waist-high wall of criss-cross wiring around the frame, which would go inside any brickwork or stone walls subsequently added. In the event of another earthquake, the brick or stone would then fall outside the frame, making the inside a safe zone. It was therefore imperative that the wiring be strong. Possibly a matter of life and death for somebody. No pressure then!
We had been warned that this was no easy task. Not physically demanding, but requiring a knack that apparently took a few days, or not at all, to master. So, imagine my delight when the team leader checked my wire and said it was pretty good, surprise written all over her face. Maybe it was a fluke, she and I were both thinking, but several wires later, they had got even better, dare I say it. It felt good to be useful. Even though I had worked hard on Rubble, I was definitely not a natural, and had to work doubley hard just so as not to be seen as a weak link. Nick was a bit of a dab hand with a wheelbarrow, but it turned out he was also good at the wiring. We would try and get on wiring tomorrow, we resolved, even though none of the team seemed to know who Kurt Cobain was. The perils of being a thirty-something in a group of twenty year olds.