Rick’s Trip 2024

The “Rick’s Projects” for August 2024

The “Rick’s Projects” have morphed over the past 4 years, starting with the COVID restrictions. The work teams from the USA traditionally traveled to Camp Emmanuel (CE) in Guazuvirá, Uruguay, in October. COVID put an end to those trips for a few years, and all of the Project work was done by Uruguayans – with the assistance of US dollars. When Uruguay opened up again for group teams, the timing and number of US volunteers had changed significantly. Because of increasing camp rentals at CE, August was deemed the optimal month for the camp to be closed for intensive renovations and construction. Rick Jensen made his first trip back to Uruguay in August 2023 by himself to assist with the Projects. Though 2 teams were originally planning to be at CE this year, they both had to cancel. As of today, Rick has one gentleman traveling with him – Britt Hopper from Kansas. (If anyone reading this would like to join Rick and Britt, please contact our office. office@emuinternational.org

Rick with last year’s Uruguayan work team

The camp director, Pedro Donzé, already has men from our churches in Uruguay lined up to work on the various projects. It is always a time of camaraderie and accomplishment, good food, and plenty of laughs. (Joan and I both miss being able to be a part of these teams. Prior commitments prevent our August travel this year.) Pedro, along with Henry Castro and Marcos Gomez, keep a running priority list of desired camp projects for these intense work weeks. And one of our major goals is to raise money for the materials to accomplish those projects. This year’s projects and their costs in US dollars are as follows:

Sidewalks – Since 2022 pouring sidewalks around the cabins and kitchen/ dining hall has been on the Project list. There are still 2 cabins that need concrete walkways. The primary reason for these sidewalks is to prevent moisture damage to the walls and to preserve the buildings’ foundational integrity. Cost: $7,365 – the money is already on hand for this project.

“Hand” mixing and hauling concrete

Poured sidewalk around a girls’ cabin – from last year  

Chapel entrance renovation – There are 2 issues here: 1) The government safety regulations now require that the front porch of the chapel eliminate the step-up into the chapel. And 2) the current walkway is made of cement slabs about 2.5’ x 2.5’ which are about 3” apart, with red, pea-gravel between the slabs. Some of the slabs have cracked over the years. There have been accumulating complaints about this uneven surface. So, the solution to both problems is to pour a concrete entry patio that will slope from the driveway to the entrance of the chapel. Cost: $6,595 – see next item.

The chapel entrance earlier this year

Chapel acoustic problem – Ever since the chapel was built, the stucco-covered block walls and the high vaulted ceiling have created an “echo” effect for all sound systems tried. Various attempts to install sound-absorbing material or baffles have improved but not solved the acoustics problem. Finally, after advice from experts, it has been decided to install the needed amount of sound absorption panels. Cost: $4,280 – the panels and the entrance renovation have been covered through a generous gift from the estate of Ray Hansel, who passed away late last year. He was an EMU Board member for many decades and had a keen interest in camp ministry.

Inside the Chapel with the most recent ceiling baffles, which did not solve the acoustic problem

Electric keyboard and sound board for the Chapel – The old keyboard used for the camp expired 3 years ago, so Pedro has been borrowing one from a church member. It was decided that a new one needs to be purchased. Also, the sound mixing board for the sound system is slowly dying and needs replacing. Cost: $3,890 – combined total.

Rosanna Gomez playing the borrowed keyboard

Pedro Donze operating the very old sound board

Rebuilding of Water Tank Tower stairs – In the original construction of the camp 50 years ago, a 3-story structure was built. The 1st floor is the well pumphouse, the 2nd was a bedroom for staff, and the 3rd was the water storage reservoir. A concrete, rebar-reinforced stairway ended at the door of the 2nd-floor room. After many changes, the 2nd and 3rd floors are now storage for camp games – with an interior wooden ladder going between the levels. Because of the deterioration of the concrete stairs, they need to be torn down and a new staircase installed for safety reasons. Cost: $2,100 – an added $1,220 would be needed if outside labor is hired to build them.

Stairs that need replacing on the old water tower

Partitions in the boys’ bathroom cabins – The old iron dividers have reached the point of being irreparable. The humid, salty air from the nearby ocean/river is very hard on metals. It was decided to replace the shower and stall dividers with aluminum dividers. The girls’ cabins had this done years ago. Cost: $5,400

Storage Container – Several years ago, a shipping container was moved to the camp for storage. It has been a huge blessing, but it is now fully used. Another container is needed. The mission sold its Montevideo house, and the furniture was moved to CE. Also, other camp items need to be stored short term. Cost: $3,900

Delivery & installation of the first shipping container a few years ago

Repair & Expansion of the Children’s Playground – This area gets most of the wear-and-tear usage each year. Repairs and more equipment are needed. Cost: $4,350

New Outdoor Firepit for evening services – Fireside services and gatherings are fun for campers any time of the year. The current location of the firepit is in a place where the local fire marshal will not permit fires except in winter months. So, the new location for the fireside meetings will be a treeless area not far from the chapel. Also, lighting would need to be added to this area. Cost: $2,690 – firepit, seating, & lighting.

The project list is longer than what has been presented above. Any funds that come in over the above projects’ needed total ($22,330) will go toward diminishing the remainder of the list. Thank you in advance for whatever you can give to help with these projects. Thank you for your prayers as plans continue to be made concerning the logistics of accomplishing these tasks.