Wheelbarrow Troubles

David Hicks

March 1st, 2017 @ 10:22 am

It is exciting to begin a long-anticipated building project, especially when it strengthens our mission work. We have started constructing our new home at May River. The building site is perched near the top of a 600-foot grassy hill with a view of forested mountains and swamp. The government buildings, medical clinic and medical staff housing are on the other sides of the same hill.

We broke ground the third week of September 2016 and began shoveling dirt from the steep hillside. We had 10 local men working for us. The scrapes and thuds of shovels, spades and digging bars were punctuated by shouts and laughter as everyone got to work.

We hadn’t been working very long before one of the men asked us if we had a second wheelbarrow for hauling dirt. There was a lot of soil to move before we could have a level lawn and foundation—an area 100 by 50 feet, cut up to 16 feet deep into the hillside. We told him we would bring the new wheelbarrow from the church.

A few minutes later the six-month-old wheelbarrow was at the site, but it had a flat tire. Now what do we do? We asked around and found three more wheelbarrows, all with flat tires. Thankfully, one had an inner tube that only had a slow leak. We put in some leak sealant, and the tube lasted a week and a half before rupturing. We got replacement tires and tubes from town for the four wheelbarrows along with a new wheelbarrow. Two of the new tires lasted only a day. One of the other inner tubes got a hole from the screwdriver used to pry the tire over the rim. The fourth tire was returned on its wheelbarrow before we could use it. The new wheelbarrow had a different kind of tire that didn’t go flat, but the plastic rim failed, and now the wheel rolls at an angle and scrapes the frame.

In spite of all the wheelbarrow difficulty, we finished leveling the ground by the end of November. We still need to return the borrowed wheelbarrows. That means getting three more tires and inner tubes.