Wood and Wagons

  December 2008 »

The next four days rushed by in a flurry of activity. Every night the friends fell asleep from both mental and physical exhaustion. They worked well into the night, and what time wasn't spent on the wagon was used to hunt down tips from the other men. More often than not they had to decipher several of the words before they could understand the advice. Thankfully, as most of the men were former slaves themselves, they appreciated the effort to free a woman and tried to help as they could.

If David and Mark had focused entirely on the wagon, it would have taken three days to build. The wood that Ch'uya had provided was already weathered a bit and they did not have to worry about it warping.

One of the other men on the property, Kunturi, had worked as a logger for a time. He wasn't able to explain all of the reasons, but his advice concerning which types of wood to use in which situations was invaluable. It probably saved David and Mark entire days of trial and error.

There was so much to learn as they worked that Mark wondered if he would have dared to begin if he had known ahead of time what would be involved. He learned that even charcoal, which he had only read about in passing, would take on different properties from different types of wood that were used.

Mark was told by Kunturi that they did not have the right type of wood preferred by blacksmiths for their charcoal. Thankfully he was able to find a good alternative among the trees they did have. David was the one to cut it down and chop it up. The wood had to be dried a little before they could make charcoal of it. The two days available were not enough, but they would have to do.

While that was drying, they also worked on the wagon and cut down several other trees to use in the next round. Those needed time to dry also. The men tried to find time to chop these trees into smaller pieces, but did not make much progress. They consoled themselves in the thought that every little bit helped.

In the middle of all the business, David practically had to push Mark to the road so that he would visit Sañi. He did not have to ask in order to know that his friend had visited the store several times since he had learned about it -- in only a couple weeks. If Mark had bought anything, David thought, he would have been Auk'a's most frequent customer.

Mark returned some time later in high spirits. Auk'a had abused him severely and gloated over how Sañi was to be made the wife of some rich kid in another country who would teach her what it was really like to be a slave. He suspected that the other was trying to make him angry and it accomplished exactly the opposite. The effort to hide his smile had been quite an exercise for Mark.

While his friend was gone, David had set about the business of smoothing boards. He was obliged to use a wood plane, which he had never used before. The tool was ever so much faster for the task than sandpaper would have been.

For his part, Mark was caught off guard to realize that he needed a metal container to make the charcoal. Somehow he hadn't remembered that it was necessary in order to hold the heat around the woodchips. Ch'uya looked amused to David, but he also knew that Mark was embarrassed to have to ask for another favor from him. They were granted what they needed.

Even though he was a part of the process, David was surprised that they were actually ready at the end of the fourth day to head back into town. Ch'uya let them borrow one of his three wagons to carry the wheels they had made as well as a sampling of the charcoal.

Their benefactor had the iron nails that they needed to put their own wagon together, but the wheels needed to be bound for durability. There was also the important matter of axles for the wheels to be mounted on and bracing for the wagon tongue. Mark hoped that it only took a day for all of those.

With the sky already turning red, Mark decided that they would leave early the following day. They took a leisurely dinner and turned in early.

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