Sunday, September 21, 2008

Putting Pearlington Back Together

The weather has finally settled down enough to give us hope that there would be no more storms for a while. So, last week a team went to Pearlington to put the dining tent back up. We had already had a couple of residents ask if we were pulling out when they saw the big white dining tent gone and all the little blue tents sitting around in the parking lot like they were waiting for the next train out of town. Our camp has become a focus point in the community and they notice whenever we change anything. So we realized we needed to get everything back into place to give them assurance that we weren't going anywhere.

I took some video of the construction of the dining tent.

video

video

video

Here's a still photo of attaching the vinly ceiling. It has to fit perfectly for the velcro to line up in a way to make it waterproof. And this tent, even though it's stood in the heat and sun for almost two years, is still basically sound and waterproof.


There was one spot with a hole that might leak. We patched the hole once before, in February, 2008. I call it the "Dennis from Pennsylvania Patch" because he patched it when the tent stood over 12 feet above us. He used a complex assortment of ladders and pvc pipe to delicately lay a strip of duct tape over the hole. The picture shows how much easier this is to do while the tent is on the ground. This one is for you, Dennis:


To match the three vinyl roof sections you had to mate the edges with each other perfectly, then press the velcro together at the same time someone else lashed it together like a showlace. Finally, we assembled about 12 people who wrestled the whole thing up and into position. It is a heavy tent. We were beat. It was hot. We were sweating buckets, not to mention the brightness of the sun any time we looked at the bright white vinyl. Oh, and the bugs flew in and out and around our faces constantly. We were beat. Did I mention that part?

As we sat there resting and congratulating ourselves, somebody noticed a couple of places where the vinyl was bunched up. Then he saw one place where the rope lashing was done wrong. The announcement to take it down and put it back together again was met with small enthusiasm. "Small" as in "none." I had reached the limit of my personal muscle ability. There was nothing left on me. I was afraid we'd get half-way up and my body would give me that familar "Nobody is home" message and the whole effort would suffer. I needed a rest before I could do anymore physical work. I had become a dangerous and undependable team member. While the others debated and discussed the merits of re-doing the whole thing,I went over to Hattie's to get an order of fries. I had a good visit and talked to her about her house while we waited for the oil to heat and the fries to cook. By the time I got back to the camp the tent was back up without me. Thank you, Jesus. And it was perfect this time.

This weekend another group got all the blue tents positioned and a couple of donated brown Quonset huts ready. They are putting in the duct work for the heaters and coolers as I write this. The Pearlington PDA Camp is back in business. Come on down.

No comments: