We are getting close to finishing up the bridge foundations and should complete the project next week. The west transition beam rebar was tied in place and we prepped the east transition beam rebar at the community center, however, I followed up with some clarifying questions to the B2P designer in Denver which resulted in changes to what we had already installed. The following morning, we retied the west transition beam rebar. Then we worked in the community center cutting and tieing rebar for the anchor blocks.
A very young Ducuale community
member helps bend rebar for the
Local children in the shoes donated to
them by TOMS shoes.
The gravel and cement deliveries we were expecting one morning were not delivered on schedule, so we could not pour the west transition rebar as we had planned. In the interim, we tied the east transition beam rebar and cut some of the rebar in the towers so the hinges could be installed later in the week.
LET THE CONCRETE BE POURED
We poured the east transition beams and worked through lunch to avoid a cold joint in the concrete. Luckily, some kids stopped by selling fried yucca and cabbage snacks! We bought them all at 10 C$ each (40 American cents). After we had eaten our late lunch, we poured the tower hinges in place. I ran the concrete mixer for this pour, and although it was a workout, it was also pretty fun. Toward the end, when the mixer was at its fullest, it was difficult to pour the concrete into a wheelbarrow slowly without dumping the whole load. Last weekend, we tied the east anchor block rebar.
SHOES AND SHOPPING
TOMS shoes also paid a visit to the school in Ducuale Grande last week. Each student received a new pair of shoes from the organization. TOMS is a California shoe company that, for every pair of shoes that they sell, donate a pair of shoes to needy children around the world.
The relationships that I’ve formed here with the young people in the community have proved to be tremendously rewarding. After work last weekend, I went to Esteli (a town near Ducuale) to do some shopping and to have lunch. There is a grocery store that sells American granola bars, and I bought a baseball mitt for the 7-year-old son of the woman who cooks for us in Ducuale. Baseball season is starting and he doesn't have one. Annetti is the 4-year-old daughter of my host family. She and I came up with a new game—I draw a picture based on her requests and then she colors it in—kind of a choose your own coloring book.