John Ball, internationally
renowned, award-winning roofer from Northern Ireland, and
son, Gary, apparently do their fair share of charity work [Editor's note: Mr. Ball is now deceased].
They took a trip to the Village of Hope Christian Orphanage
in the Middle Atlas Mountains of Morocco, carrying along
1,250 slates to be used as new siding on an orphanage building.They
were thoughtful enough to send us some photos of their
work, which we are using here with their kind permission.
The orphanage is located about
200 miles “northeast, then southeast” of Casablanca
by train and taxi. The unforeseen difficulties that popped
up during the project included a lack of battens to nail
the slates onto. This problem was solved by locating ten
pieces of spruce planking at a town 12 miles away and cutting
it into “tolerable battens” using a “very
antiquated and dangerous looking bandsaw.” John tells
us that this area of Morocco is well off the tourist track
and little English is spoken. The deeply Islamic people “showed
no animosity toward us and were always ready for a great
deal of handshaking, cheek kissing and, ‘Salam Aleecom’ (you
are welcome) greeting.”
Perhaps if our armies invaded
countries bearing roofing slates rather than bombs, the
world would be a safer, drier and happier place.