Life At Point C

Experiencing Life along the Silk Road

Can You Help Me

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The beam at the site

See the beam sticking out through the top window?

A few days ago, Magevney and I were picking up our daughter from preschool, detsky sahd in Russian; when the afternoon took an unexpected turn. We were in somewhat of a hurry to get to our friend’s home that evening so I ran in to get our daughter while Magevney waited in the car. As I was helping her get her shoes and coat on a man walked into the room behind me and started speaking to me in English.

“Hi. Do you remember me? We have met before” he says to me.

Thankfully before I have time to tell him I have no idea who he is and I really don’t think we have ever met, he continues. We are shaking hands and he asks if I can help him move something heavy. He says they need another man to help because this metal is so big.

I was rather intrigued but also knew I needed to get going. I figured that I should help even though it would likely make us late as that seemed more culturally appropriate. I tell him I will take my daughter to the car and then come help. In route to the car, he stops another dad with the same question, who obliges him as well.

Now I, along with the other dad, who is well dressed, follow this man to the adjacent construction site. The preschool owners are building an adjacent café. Once inside the site, we see what they need help doing. They have a homemade steel beam needing to be moved from its resting place on the ground to the second floor roof of the new building, all without equipment. Along with about 15 other men, we manhandled this 25ft beam, made of two pieces of angle iron tack welded together into a T beam, up to the edge of the building. Then it went up a top-soil ramp, through an open window, and slid up a plank until it was at a 45 degree angle where we left it. Elapsed time: 20 minutes.

To fully describe the process involved would take quite a bit of time, so suffice it to say that the use of simple machines and physics would have greatly reduced the work required. Too bad I don’t speak any Kyrgyz.

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