Day 22 – Saipan

Sunday, March 31, 2019

We had breakfast in our hotel rooms, as usual, after which Dan and Anet went to the church he had attended the previous week and the rest of us went to the Saipan Community Church on the Beach.   The youth led the worship at the church and the speaker’s topic was based on 1 Peter 1.   During the announcements, they mentioned that they had presented the gospel of Jesus Christ and distributed Operation Christmas Child Shoe Boxes to more than 500 children on Saturday.   It was nice to be at one of the locations where the shoe boxes, some of which may have come from the Niagara area back home,  were being distributed.

After church, Dan and Anet went swimming, while Harold, John, Sandy, Jeff and I went to the ” Spicy Thai Noodle Place ” for lunch.   After lunch, we went for a drive around the island to see the various sites, most of which I had seen before, but Sandy and Jeff hadn’t.   We stopped by the memorial where the Japanese had made their last stand during World War II,

as well as, Bonzai Cliff.

Colourful and especially pink cars are very popular with the tourists on the islands, especially the ‘ Barbie ‘ mustangs with doors that open up instead of out.  At Bonzai cliff there was a swarm of tourists, who appeared to be part of a wedding party, taking pictures on the cars.

We also checked out the steep view from the top of Suicide Cliff.

From there we drive to the Grotto,

Bird Island,

as well as ‘ Kalabera Cave ‘, which I hadn’t seen.

From left to right: Harold, Sandford ( Sandy ), Jeff and John.

We returned to the hotel around 3 pm and at 5:30 pm we drove to Garapan to have supper at the Country House Restaurant and we returned to the hotel at 8 pm.

The weekend was over and Monday we will continue building roofs.   There are so many roofs to be repaired/replaced that many


Day 21 – Saipan

Saturday, March 30, 2019

After breakfast, Harold and I drove Phil and Richard to the airport at 7:30 am for their flight back home and then we stopped at Winchell’s for a coffee and donut, where we met a couple of the Baptist volunteers from Kentucky.  We conversed with them for a few minutes before heading back to the hotel for devotions.

At 10 am, Harold, John, Jeff, Anet and I went to the NMI Heritage Museum for a few hours.   The Marianna Islands are now a commonwealth of the United States but they have been under the rule of several different countries, including Spain and Germany, however, the 30 years from 1914 to 1944 that they were occupied by the Japanese has resulted in the most artifacts donated to the museum.  The museum has a very good website explaining the heritage of the islands –

We were back at the hotel before noon and then Dan, Anet, Jeff, Sandy and I went to Pau Pau beach for a couple of hours of swimming and snorkelling.   At 2 pm I drove Jeff and Sandy back to the hotel and then Dan, Anet and I went to Bird Island for some more swimming and snorkelling.

The dirt path down to Bird Island was fairly steep and rugged but not very long.

The closeup view of the island was worth going there.

The beach was very rocky, so Dan and Anet had to carefully find the best path to get to the island.   I went into the beach but I didn’t cross over to the island.

We left Bird Island at 4:30 and returned to the hotel for a quick shower in preparation for supper.   Harold, Sandy, John, Jeff and I went to the American Pizza and Grill on Beach Road, while Dan and Anet went to the ” all you can eat” buffet at the GrandVrio hotel.   After we ate, Jeff, John and I went to the Garapan Fire Station to see if Jeff could buy one of their shirts.   There was only one volunteer at the Fire House and he told us to come back during the week.

We returned to the hotel at 7:30 pm and at 8:30 pm, I drove back to Garapan to pick up Dan and Anet after they finished their Fish and Sushi buffet in order to bring them back to the hotel for the night.

Day 20 – Saipan

Friday, March 29, 2019

After making our own breakfasts at the hotel, both teams arrived at the job sites by 7 am and unloaded the tools before continuing where we had finished the day before.   At 8 am, we Jeff, Sandy and I went to the other site to help them install the trusses that they had build.

Meanwhile, Anet had stayed on our job site to continue installing hurricane straps.   When the trusses had all been set on the house, we returned to our job site at 9:30 and continued installing purlins and hurricane straps.   At 11:30, Harold arrived at the job site with the case worker, Janet, to bring us some ice cream.

Shortly thereafter the owner offered us a big lunch of crab salad, chicken kabobs, beef stew and rice.   I am over-whelmed by the generosity of the Saipanians.

With full stomachs, we waddled back to work and by the end of the day we had installed most of the hurricane straps, all of the purlins and the first sheet of metal.

By 3 pm we had packed up our tools and headed back to the hotel.

After our project review and devotions, Phil and Richard were asked to select a restaurant for our evening meal since they would be leaving the following morning, so they picked the Majesty Chinese restaurant for supper.   After supper I drove some of the volunteers to the JoeTen Shopping centre to pick up some groceries before returning to the hotel.

I am ready for a little R & R to heal and regenerate so that I can do it all again next week.

Day 19 – Saipan

Thursday, Mar 29,2019

Ed wanted to get one last donut before he left to go home so I stopped at Winchell’s one last time for him and since we were there, several of the volunteers in my car decided they wanted to get a donut as well.   After getting the donuts, I drove Phillip to work with John, Radar and Richard, before heading to our site.

Ed, Jeff, Sandy and I continued to install the rafters and a support beam for the roof while Anet nailed on 90 hurricane ties and joist hangers.

At 11:30 am, the owner’s wife brought us a delicious meal of a salad, rice, beef and peppers and Kentucky Fried chicken.

By the time the temperatures got hot, we were starting to install the purlins and it was getting hard to work even though there was an occasional breeze.

The team at the other house finished building roof trusses and installed the top wall plates.   When we arrived there at 2:30 pm to pick them up, we helped them pack up their tools before driving back to the hotel.

At 4 pm, Harold drove Ed to the airport to catch his 6:50 flight home, as well as, pick up a rental car for John.

After the project review and devotions, most of the volunteers went to the open market along the beach for supper.  Harold, Anet and I opted to go to the local KFC/Taco Bell for a light meal.


Day 18 – Saipan

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

It was a typical morning in Saipan.  We left the hotel shortly before 7 and arrived at the job site shortly after 7.   We unpacked the tools for John, Ed, Phil, Jeff and Anet to finish the shed roof and then Dan, Sandy, Richard and I went back to the house we were working on the previous day.

By mid-morning, the shed roof was finished and the moved to another house.  Dan and Richard went to help them and Ed and Jeff joined our crew.

The owners at the house where I was, had prepared sponge cake and sandwiches for us in the morning and they offered us a big lunch at 11 am.   We had rice, Kimchi, chicken kabobs, pork kabobs, pork stew and cold soft drinks.

As always, it got hot by noon.  By the end of the day, the four of us were able to build two 2″x6″x35′ support beams on the middle and outside wall and secure them to the concrete walls, as well as install half of the ledger board and the outside double rafter.

We packed up at 2 pm and stopped by the house the other group had finished in the morning before picking up the other crew.

The owner and his daughter were there and they were very happy with their new roof.

When we drove to the next house that the other crew was working on, we found that they had removed most of the roofing and would be ready to build trusses.

I talked to Lou, the owner, and her brother, Joe, for a while and Joe explained that he had been living in a house that FEMA had build in 1987, next door to his sister’s house, which we were working on.    His sister lost her roof but his complete house blew away during Typhoon Yutu.  All that was left was the foundation.

We arrived back at the hotel at 3 pm, showered and met for our review and devotions at 5:30.   For supper we went to a revolving restaurant called 360.   The view from the restaurant was spectacular and we were able to see all of the island within an hour as it slowly revolved.

After a few of us picked up some groceries, we were back at the hotel by 8 pm.

Day 17 – Saipan

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

I drove Jeff and Sandy to Winchell’s at 6:45 so that they could get a morning coffee and then I picked up the rest of the volunteers at the hotel before going to the job site.

Ed and Jeff finished covering the left gable end of the house, while Richard finished the repairing the last truss, Dan and Sandy finished the facias and Phil and Anet finished the last of the ridge and end caps on the main part of the house.  We then started to build the shed roof for the garage on the left side of the house.  Jeff and I added the ledger board to the house while Ed and Sandy installed a 2×12 beam to the outside of the free-standing wall to hold up the rafters.

Harold picked up John Miller,  a new volunteer who arrived at the airport in the morning and then dropped by the job site at 9 am to introduce him to us, before checking him into the hotel.    Shortly afterwards, Harold brought John back to help us with the shed roof.   By 10 am we had the first rafter up.

By 11 am we had all of the rafters connected  and we stopped to eat the wonderful lunch of rice and pork in a meat sauce, that the owners daughter had prepared for us.   After lunch, Ed, Jeff, John, Phil and Anet continued to work on the shed roof while Dan ( Radar ), Sandy, Richard and I went to tear off the roof on another house.

The next project was a shed style roof attached to the house that had been damaged by the Typhoon.   Most of the wood was termite-infested and it had to be completely torn down.   By noon the sun was beating down on us and it became very hot.  The temperature was 31 C ( 88 F ) with 62% humidity that made it feel like 36 C ( 96 F ).    We were starting to get very tired, even though we were drinking a lot of water and taking frequent rests in the shade.

By 2:30 pm we had removed all of the roof and some of the walls.

It was getting too hot to continue, so we headed to the other job site in order to pick up the rest of the group, who had almost finished the shed roof.

We packed up the rest of the tools into the trailer and then headed back to the hotel for a much needed shower and rest.   As most days, Radar and Anet went to a nearby beach to go snorkelling and swimming.

We all met at 5:30 for our project review and devotions before heading to ‘ Thunder Chicken ‘ for our evening meal.   We were back at the hotel shortly before 8 pm.

Day 16 – Saipan

Monday, March 25, 2019

Breakfast was different than the previous weeks.   Since we had kitchen facilities, we ate breakfast in our units and met at 6:50 am in the foyer of the hotel.

Shortly after 7 am we were back at the house.    After unloading the tools, Philip and Anet and I finished the back of the roof and put on the ridge caps.

Two new volunteers, Sandford Stauffer and Jeff Mosier from upper New York, arrived at the job site at 10 am after they had checked into the hotel following their long flights.   Jeff, with help from Sandford ( aka Sandy ) removed the roof from the room attached to the side of the house.

Sandy helped Ed and Radar finish the right gable end of the house and the front facia and Jeff helped Ed finish the gable on the left end of the house.

Richard worked on repairing roof trusses some of which were infested with termites.

By the end of the day we had finished the main roof, closed most of the gable ends, removed the roof from the additional room on the left side of the house and repaired most of the rafters in the house.

We returned to the hotel at 3 pm, cleaned up, had our project review meeting and devotions before going to the Surf Club for our evening meal.   We experienced  another spectacular sunset as we walked along the beach and waited for our meal at the restaurant.

And a good night to all from Saipan……..