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Roof Repairs

We have a very large tree in our yard, called a gao tree.
 This tree is native to the area and is well-adapted to an arid climate. It's roots go very deep and in the dry season it reaches down to the water source and produces leaves, providing shade at the time of year when you need it most.  It also produces a pod that can be fed to animals.  Just before the rainy season begins, it looses all of its leaves which are nourishing to the soil.  Since the tree has no leaves during the rainy season, the millet can get the sunshine it needs to grow during its short growing season.  In addition, the wood is extremely hard and quite termite resistant.  But I digress.

Before we moved to this house, there was a huge wind storm and a branch from the gao tree fell on the house, bending the metal roof.  It was patched up and was ok for awhile, but for the past two rainy seasons we have had a lot of dribbling down the walls during storms as well as some leaks in the ceiling.  A few months back we had an electrician installing a doorbell.  He just about came through the ceiling and also informed us that the ceiling is so rotted in places that it's just being held together by paint.

So, since our house is owned by the mission we had to have an estimate written up for the cost to repair the roof and then have that expenditure approved by our Area Council.  That was approved in November, but then we decided to wait until after Christmas and our Conference because we knew it would be a messy job.  

And we were right!  First, you have to understand that the tin roof is held down by a cement parapet so that it doesn't rip off in the high winds we can get in the rainy season.  So the first step was to destroy that parapet so they could remove the old metal.  
Rubble from the destroyed parapet
Whew!  You could hardly hear yourself think for the noise.  Chunks of cement came sailing past or windows, debris was falling inside, and it sounded like elephants were walking on the roof.  I am gone most of the day, so it wasn't too bad, but poor John could hardly concentrate on his work!  They were here one Saturday, too.
The old tin roofing

The roof is gone!

The roof was off several days before they put it back on.  It was kind of strange seeing the sky from inside the house!

The next step was to put on the new tin and they also used some kind of insulation.
The insulation comes in a roll like this
 I'm not sure how that went on, so sorry, I can't describe that to you, but it should make the house a bit cooler.  

They also realized that the ceiling above the kitchen door was sagging, so they added a beam and pulled up the ceiling....all of which created more dirt.
A pile of dirt I swept up inside the house.

Now they are rebuilding the parapet.  In this picture you can see the two-by-four that is the frame for the cement.  This cement also has to be watered twice a day, so there is still constantly a mess on our terrace.  I keep reminding myself it will be worth it to have a cooler house and no leaking during the rainy season. 
Rebuilding the parapet
More mess swept off the terrace

But in the meantime there is more noise, more elephants walking on the roof, more showing up right at siesta time, but at least not so much dirt in the house.....just all over the terrace.  So far we are in the third week of this process.  They seem to work a few days then go off and work on another project and then come back.

On Thursday our neighbor lady who lives on the other side of the duplex came over and said, "There's a cat above my ceiling and it just put it's paw down through a crack between the ceiling and the wall.  I can hear it meowing."

We went over and sure enough, you could hear it walking around and meowing.  So John got a stepladder and a flash light and opened the trap door to the crawl space.  Sure enough, our cat was up there and couldn't get out!  Apparently he had gone between the roof and the ceiling in the morning when the workers came, then by the end of the day they had put on the cement parapet and he couldn't get out again.  He was so stressed that when John tried to get him down, he was just clawing at John.  He eventually got him to come down.  Poor thing, he really was stressed!