Part of Series of Photos
From Africa & USA
A group of several hundred from one of our regular Church Services in Congo, standing in front of our first permanent Church building constructed there. This building was made from concrete blocks, made with individual molds, filled with shovels, packed by hand, dried and cured on the ground.
The sand for building was secured from the river by hand, with men hauling it up in buckets or baskets, from sandbars in the river, up to the river landing, where they generally brought it with dugout canoes. It was then hauled from the river landing in our truck to the building site. We have a beautiful picture of a typical river landing near the Congo Mission on another page. After you finish reading this page go to:
The "gravel" for the blocks and all other parts of the building was secured by men "collecting stones" by hand (scarce in the area, and natural gravel was non-existent, of course) and then sitting down with a hammer and beating the stones into very small pieces to make "crushed rock" to use in place of proper gravel, etc.
The "lumber" for building the trusses, window and door frames and doors, etc., was secured by "bush sawyers" who were told by us what kind of lumber we needed. They would then go into the forests along the rivers, or up in the hills, fell large trees entirely by hand equipment, (no power of any kind except man power). After felling a suitable tree, it was trimmed, sawed into proper lengths, a pit dug in the ground and the trimmed log rolled over the pit.
Then the tree was sawed, by hand, with one man in the pit and one standing on top of the log, into very rough lumber, which was then sold to us by the sawyer contractors for use in building our mission buildings. The sawyers, after sawing the lumber, then had to haul it out of the river bottoms or off the hills where they had to go to cut the timber, and stack it somewhere which could be reached by our truck, or else they could carry it on their shoulders all the way up to the mission, whichever was "easier" for them.
Even that was only the beginning. After that, our "bush carpenters" (again with NO power tools of any kind), would smooth and equalize the thickness of the lumber with a small tool like an adze, then with hand planes, they would plane and smooth the lumber down for use as finished lumber. In areas of a building which were hidden from view, of course, such as roof trusses, etc., we used rough sawed and unfinished lumber.
And there was a lot more "hand labor" which went into every building, but this is enough to BEGIN to get the idea. Of course, the only way to really understand what went into doing anything there in the bush would be to be there in the often high humidity and high temperatures, planning, "engineering" and building one of these buildings yourself, using only local labor, and only hand tools, with no power tools of any kind!