NMTI students to help Maturana sisters repair damages

Northern Marianas Trades Institute carpentry and construction students J.R. Elias, left, and Clyde Diaz work on a project Wednesday inside their campus in Lower Base. (Jon Perez)

Northern Marianas Trades Institute carpentry and construction students J.R. Elias, left, and Clyde Diaz work on a project Wednesday inside their campus in Lower Base. (Jon Perez)

The Northern Marianas Trades Institute’s carpentry and construction class of instructor Mike Vargas are all set to help repair and rebuild the damage sustained by the Maturana House of Prayer, which is being ran by members of the Mercedarian Missionaries of Bérriz,

The Maturana House of Prayer was among the many buildings on Saipan damaged when Typhoon Soudelor barreled through the island. The youth center, house of prayer, and storage room are the facilities that need repair after Soudelor and also due to termites.

Vargas, who has been in the carpentry and construction industry for 35 years, said that he has already inspected the damaged facility and at the same time used a water blaster to clean some areas. He has also listed down the materials needed and its estimated cost.

“The only thing that we’re waiting is the budget or the materials. Then we can start with the repairs. I was there last Monday and made an inspection where we are also going to build a concrete water tank pad with the plans already done,” added Vargas.

Clyde Diaz, J.R. Elias, and Elden Dela Cruz along with seven of their classmates are ready to help repair Maturana, which also serves as the retirement home for the nuns, and at the same time hosts events and other programs not only for Catholics but also other Christian groups.

“I would like to be there to help the sisters. I am the oldest in the class and I am already working as a mechanic but I love doing things that’s why I’m studying to learn carpentry and construction work,” said Diaz, who used to help family members in building and repairs with their homes.

“I want to learn a little bit of everything and it would be nice to know a lot of skills. I know I can do my share and help the sisters repair the damages,” he added.

The 19-year-old Elias, on the other hand, said the opportunity would give them more experience as they apply the things they learn in their classes like making cabinets and bookshelves.

“After Soudelor, the school still needs repairs especially the carpentry room but we’re ready to do the job for them. It would be the actual thing for us and it would help us feel great as we do something for them. I feel already blessed,” said Elias with a smile.

For Dela Cruz, who is waiting for his certification to become an instructor, he was already aware of the planned repair project at Maturana. “It would also be nice to come there and evaluate the damages. We have a lot of projects and repairing some facilities at Maturana is one of them.”

The Mercedarian sisters are also baking bread and donuts and making coconut oil and ice cups just to help raise funds for materials and repair of facilities.

Jon Perez | Reporter
Jon Perez began his writing career as a sports reporter in the Philippines where he has covered local and international events. He became a news writer when he joined media network ABS-CBN. He joined the weekly DAWN, University of the East’s student newspaper, while in college.

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