Brick Making - Then and Now
May 31st 2017
This is an email we received from Peter Ripple on May 31st. One last post of stuff they discovered her in Trujillo. I just thought their perspective and discovery should be shared.
Friends:Due to circumstances beyond our control, Debbie and I have to terminate our mission in Trujillo, Peru, and return to Nova Scotia. We will be home on June 1. We made a discovery just before leaving that was very interesting to us that we want to share.
The first picture shows a man making bricks in a brickyard that is a 20 minute walk from the temple. There is a wooden box mold sitting on top of a pedestal. It has places for two bricks. Beside him is a pile of moist clay. He reaches down with both hands and scoops up a big gob of clay that he flings down into the box.. He pushes it into the mold to fill it, then takes a piece of board and scrapes it across the top to remove excess and make them smooth. He then picks up the box and runs over to where he flips it upside down against the ground and the two wet bricks drop out. They retain their shape. He runs back to where he started, swirls some dust from the ground in the mold, places it on the pedestal and repeats. All motions are fast, leading me to believe that workers are paid by the brick for their labors.
Bricks dry in the sun for several days. After that, they are loaded on a truck and either sold as is as adobe, or taken to the kiln to be fired. Pictures 3 and 4 show the kiln. It is made of fired brick. The adobe bricks are stacked with spaces for heat to rise. There is a channel below where the fire is sent in. The pile is capped with defective bricks that will be reused again and again. Picture 3 shows the bricks being stacked in the kiln and picture 4 shows the kiln with fired bricks. I believe the bricks are fired with charcoal that has been specially formed into briquettes that have channels for air and fire to whoosh through. I found some at another brick kiln. There is no sign that propane is being used.
The fired bricks are not hard fired. They are also not attractive, and not used decoratively. They are used extensively to close in buildings, and are usually covered with stucco, at least on the walls facing the streets. The remaining exterior walls mostly don't get stucco. The bricks are used to make interior partition walls as well and are usually stuccoed.
Here is what is amazing to me, and what Debbie and I did not discover until only days before leaving. Picture 5 is of a brick that somebody worked loose in the ruins of Chan Chan. It is probably about 1,400 years old. It is identical in size and shape to bricks I saw being used all over Trujillo at construction sites that I visited. I have concluded that the making of adobe brick today has remained unchanged for 1,400 years and possibly more. The Moche preceded the Chimu who built Chan Chan, and it it possible that the Moche employed the same methods.
There ya have it. It has all been very interesting to us, and hopefully to a few of you as well. We will miss the place and the people, but we look forward to seeing you sooner or later.
Peter & Debbie
We received this one on June 5, 2017
Wayne:We have been officially released by the stake president on Friday. We have only been in our home a few days, and it is very disorganized, but we are getting moved back in. Now that we are home, we are embracing being home. Today I will get serious about planting the garden.
I think that the people who caused our problem would do things differently if they had it to do over again. They have been suffering great guilt. They went to the bishop to talk about it, hoping they might be justified, but he told them that it was their fault that we had to leave our mission, and they left his office feeling worse, not better. Not only that, but it has turned out that the "great little house" they bought has had a lot of problems, and getting them fixed has cost them more than they can afford, and a number of things will have to wait. They have taken a mortgage and then filled up their line of credit on repairs. Not a great place to be for a man of 79.On the one hand, they deserve the grief they are having. We have met with them and they have told us how they have been feeling badly about causing the problem, and have apologized. We have frankly forgiven them. At this point it is more important to continue to be friends with them and keep peace in the ward than to add to their grief with a guilt trip. We actually drove them to Stake conference in the city yesterday (2 hours each way), and I think we have cleared the way to maintaining a friendship.We went to the Halifax temple Friday evening after meeting with the stake Pres. for our release.
That is life for us in rural Nova Scotia. We miss you folks and all our friends in Trujillo. We do indeed love all of you and will look back on our time in Trujillo, as one of the best times in our lives.Love, Peter