Friday, July 26, 2013

Return to Kioa

We had promised to come back to help with the library organization and when the winds abated, we sailed over from nearby Booca Bay and anchored again just off the beach at Kioa. The last few days have been predictably hectic. Fea Fea, the head teacher was very happy that we had returned. He had plans to build new shelving for one wall of the library and we discussed what he wanted and looked over a supply of lumber and materials. Much of this had been donated to repair a house damaged in a tsunami or was left over from the construction of the new kindergarten building.

Chris and Seelie begin work on  putting together the rear lattice

Chris rips a 2 X 2 using a jig and somewhat dull circular saw.
I drew up some plans that made use of kindergarten siding off-cuts as shelves and ripped 2 X 2 lumber as the supporting structure, with some thin ply (we had two sheets available) to strengthen and brace the structure. The overall size would be about 12 feet long by 6 feet high and a little over a foot deep. Over the next two days, I worked with Seelie, the school manager to build the shelving. Seelie is an experienced carpenter with 5 houses to his credit and it was a pleasure to work with such a capable person. I was particularly impressed by how he could bang in a big 4 inch nail in a few blows when it took me twice as many!

We requisitioned the island generator, normally used to run the communal fish freezer and rigged up a jig to rip the long rough 2 X 4 lumber. A Makita circular saw was borrowed from one of the women in the village and together with another helper we ripped 8 long timbers, planing them by hand. The wood was wet and the ripping slow because the saw was a bit dull. Hand planing all this rough wet lumber was also slow,  tiring work and took until near the end of the first day. We finished the day by assembled the back - a heavy lattice of 2 X 2 posts and stringers braced by plywood sheeting glued and nailed.

I  had lots of help. Here some of the older boys steady my work bench (an old school desk) while I  cut some more paneling to fill a gap in the back of the shelving. 

The second day we assembled the front lattice and raised the back, leaning it against a building. We glued and nailed thin plywood sheets to the ends and fastened the front lattice to the side panels. Finally we laid the shelving, ripped from siding off-cuts, along the stringers and nailed these in place. The whole giant unit was lifted by a classroom of boys and girls and carried across the playing field and into the library room where with much re-arrangement of shelving and piles of books, it was moved into place. Seelie then fastened it to the wall with concrete nails and Fea Fea got out some cans of stain left over from the kindergarten and we stained the bookcase with two coats.

Fea Fea and Chris start staining the shelving.

Rani and Lepa take a break from training on the library computer system

Meanwhile, Rani was working with Lepa, the new librarian to train her on the library system computer program. They roped in a few young helpers to practice checking out books  and by the end of the day I think Lepa felt comfortable with the system. While I had been building, Rani had been helping organize books and had made good progress on the adult fiction and nonfiction as well as the youth section. She had reorganized the categories, too, to better suit the age ranges of the children.

Friday afternoon sports on the playing field.

To our surprise, the teachers had us over for a lovely lunch on the second day in their offices. We ate eggplant curry and rotis made by the students as well as lovely home-made rolls and each teacher made a speech to thank us for our efforts. They are practiced speech makers on Kioa and our own speeches were a pale shadow of theirs but we tried to let them know how much we have enjoyed our experiences here.

Finished shelving with stain still drying
After work on Friday, we had the teachers out to the boat for a visit. None had  been on a 'yacht' before and I believe they enjoyed seeing how we lived as much as we enjoyed sharing this with them.  We will be sad to leave here, but it is time to see my broken tooth  looked at and we need to fix a broken weld on our bow roller, so today we sail toward Savusavu.

Roseia, Fea Fea, Chris and Lepa on Ladybug

Rani thought Lepa looked Indian, so she convinced her to let her braid her hair and added a special Indian hairpiece  (a prandi) to extend Lepa's already impressive tresses.

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