BerksBarristerSpring2017 - 17

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DAY TWO: Same good weather again. Placed a hollow
beam made of the rebar in the footers with a bunch of rocks and
concrete. Filled the rest of the foundation trench with the same -
bunches of medium and large rocks with concrete. Used cement
blocks to raise the downhill foundation level with the height of
the uphill foundation. It was important to level the four outside
foundation walls and the three inside foundation walls, despite
the slope of the site.
DAY THREE: Temperature went up to 90 or so and the
westerly breeze was intermittent at best. HOT! We backfilled the
space inside the foundation walls. We used rocks, big and small,
and the stuff we had dug out of the foundation trenches. That
was not enough to even out the uphill/downhill differential, so
we dug dirt (and small rocks) from nearby, carried it to the site,
and dumped it in. We had no tampers, so we bounced up and
down all over the backfill to compact it.
DAY FOUR: Same 90 degrees with limited breeze. We
resumed dancing (jumping up and down) on the backfill to
compact it. The masons spread concrete on a stone base over the
backfilled foundation to make the floor of the home.
DAY FIVE: Same 90 degrees with limited breeze. Time
for the walls. We lugged cement blocks to the work area and the
masons built the exterior and interior walls up to about 6-7 feet.
The interior walls divided the home in half and then divided one
of the halves in half again. The large room was the living/eating
area and the two smaller rooms were bedrooms.
In the evening of DAY FIVE, we had a large dinner with
the Fuller reps in Pignon, the workers, our group, and the family
for whom we had built the house. A good time, as they say, was
had by all. It was very enjoyable meeting the couple and their
child as the folks who would benefit from our labor. We were
scheduled to leave at 7:00 the next morning, so we said our goodbyes and farewells to our new Haitian friends after the dinner.
DAY SIX: While we were on our way back to the PAP
airport, the workers put up wooden rafters and large tin sheets on
the rafters as the roof.
Lots of detail work remained to be done. Decorative cement
forms with large gaps (or possibly some glass) will be put in as
windows. Doors will be put in on each side of the living/eating
area. An extension of the floor about three feet outside the walls
on one side will become a porch. Cement will be applied to the
entire outside for a smoother stucco finish. The walls will be
painted inside and out with colorful designs.
As I write this incomplete account of our mission trip the
week after our return, my arms, legs, and back still ache to some
degree. I remain certain, however, that it was something that I
should have done and I am exceedingly glad I did it. It puts into
perspective the lifestyles we lead and sometimes gripe about in
the United States. Will I go again? Ask me after I no longer have
the aches and soreness. When you ask, I will probably say, "Yes."
The Honorable Richard E. Fehling is a United States
Bankruptcy Judge for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

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Thomas J. Bellairs
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940 Penn Ave. Wyomissing, PA

Spring/Summer 2017 | 17

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of BerksBarristerSpring2017

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