Monday, April 30, 2007

Cement Boys in Chacala

Two young men arrived at daylight this morning to plaster the walls of one of the downstairs rooms with cement. The walls have been bare brick up until now. But bare brick is very hard to keep clean, and bugs love to hide in the little hidey holes in the mortar. And it's hard to paint brick.So my landlady hired these guys to plaster the walls. They work on a regular crew up in the development, and this is an extra project for them. They arrived at daylight and left at 8am to go to their real job.Guys who work in cement/concrete around here usually do everything by hand. They carry the sand and bags of cement up from the road, and use water from the big garbage can .Where the water is stored where the water used for flushing the downstairstoilet is stored. And they mix with a hoe, of course. You see very few cement mixers being used on most projects around here.
The concrete is mixed on the floor. In the middle of the room. Very handy. When they left for their other job a few minutes ago, I was afraid they had left the unused mortar to dry on the floor. Because sometimes the workers here leave the concrete in the cement mixer at the end of the day, rather than rinsing it out. Or on the floor. Apparently that’s so someone will have a job in the morning, chipping out the dried stuff. I have seen that happen, at the new hotel construction, so I know it’s true. At least occassionally. The works just took off for their day job a few minutes ago. And left a sort of tidy work area. No piles of drying piles of mortar on the floor. Just three piles of sand, and various small piles of drying cement scattered along the walls and where they mixed cement. Could be worse. I guess someone will have the job of chipping the dried stuff off the floor in a few days.I hope what I am seeing right now on the walls is the first coat, because it’s really rough. If you rubbed up against the plaster the way it is right now, it would probably rip your skin right off. But they probably do some kind of finish coat, I hope.The workers introduced themselves when I came down to see if I could take some photos. They are Francisco and Jose. Very unusual names around here. Probably only one in 8 men around here are named Francisco, and maybe one in 4 are named Jose.

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