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The First "Proper" House in Kotidanga

Published Nov 22, 2008

Running the Chainsaw

Being a bush missionary, you get to do a lot of different things.  So, this day, I was thinking, “I’m a LumberJack, Baby!”

I taught some of our Bible School students how to run the chainsaw.  They just don’t like all the safety equipment.  They prefer to be barefoot and not have to worry about gloves.  I cringe when I find them working that way!!! (Please don’t send me letters about it…I know they need to use safety equipment!)

Sawmill Setup
This picture shows the amount of wood that the mill could cut in a few days.  We had to pull all the logs to the mill, and then carry out all the cut timber.  It took about 20 minutes to get out of the bush from here, so that meant we had to dedicate several days to just carry timber away from the mill.
Cutting Wood
Cutting wood with the Wood-Mizer LT15

When we moved into Kotidanga, we shared a house with Pastor James Naudi.  At that time, he was married to Rhonda, and she was expecting a little one, who we now know as Caleb.  Becky learned how to cook over the open fire from Rhonda, and they spent hours together every day.  As the time for delivery drew near, I felt the sincere desire to be free of the bush house with a soon-coming crying baby.  You see, our two little ones were past that stage, and I was not thrilled with the idea of putting up with someone else’s baby!  (Babies are fun—for about five minutes, then they can go back to their own parents!)

We had been working on building our house.  We started cutting wood for it in August of 2005, and all the wood was ready by November.  We let it dry, and started building in March 2006.  There were several challenges.  I had never built anything before.  Now, it was time to do my best to get things straight.  God brought us in contact with two carpenters, Bob and Lako, from Charity Baptist Church in Kerema town.  (For those of you familiar with the ministry at Charity, Lako is Ilava’s dad…but that is another story for another day.)

In April 2005, we had finished building the house.  It has taken us since then to finish the inside (and it still isn’t done completely…)  This house sure has made it easier to live in the bush.

The Framed House
Here, we have the frame up.  Notice the house is on “stilts.” Several people have asked us about that.  The primary reason we do that is because the alternative is to put the house on the ground.  That would require cement, which is extremely heavy, and would be cost prohibitive since we would have to fly it in.  One bag of cement costs about $8.00 in town.  The shipping for that same bag of cement is about $65!!!  I don’t mind having “stilts.”  The benefit is instant storage space! (Americans love storage space.)
Raising the Rafters
We didn’t have a crane to lift the rafters, so a lot of men put in a lot of work, and we lifted them up!
Water Collection System
This picture gives an overview of our water collection system.  We put in gutters on both sides of the house, and those gutters empty into our 1,000 gallon rain tank.  A transfer pump, run off the generator, can lift 50 gallons of water up to the “header tank” in about three minutes.  The indoor plumbing then is gravity fed from the header tank.  We refill the header tank every morning. 
Happy Girls
We got the house built in April 2005, and then we moved in.  Our puppy, Blue, did not take well to changing houses, and to this day prefers to go hang out at the old house.
The Finished Product
We painted the house, and installed a veranda on the front.  This is our “home, sweet home” now!