Sunday, June 14, 2009

Midway update

After weeks of being in Bolivia, we finally began construction little more than a week ago. The communities around Obrajes told us they desired a pier supported bridge at a new sight we previously hadn´t considered. Since this bridge belongs to the community, and since they will be doing the bulk of the construction after we leave, we decided to revise our design to suit their needs.  Dwayne Lee, a retired Engineer from the army, joined us two weeks ago and has been an amazing help in all of the project. 

The last week sure has been an experience. We have all been waking up early and getting to the site as soon as possible. We´ve all learned how to build rehbar cages, construct forms, and, most importantly, dig big holes. When we put the form in our meter deep hole earlier this week, most of us were up to our chests in cold water. 

On Thursday, the feast of Corpus Christi, the community members threw us a ¨Challa¨, or a religious festival where they blessed the ground the bridge is on. We had dinner with the mayor and had a huge soccer game with the kids. It was tons of fun. 

After today our numbers will drop to 6 students, Dwayne, and Dr. Beaule. We are expecting work to be much harder, but we also are anticipating more community involvment. Yesterday the communities had a huge (300 person) meeting where they put together a schedule for labor. They also want to dig the foundation deeper, 2 meters, to avoid soil erosion of the footers. We don´t know how to do this, but they insist it is possible. 

1 comment:

  1. Magda, Maria, and I made it safely to the US and should have made it to our final destinations. Thanks for continuing on the dream of the project, and keep up the hard work!