Monday, February 17, 2014

Cement, Sand, and Gravel

There is a lady in town who has a hardware store.  When I am in town I can deposit money in her bank account and she will get boats to haul cement to the village for me.  When I arrived in the village I found 81 bags of cement waiting for me.  That was great, but I needed 15 cubic meters of sand and gravel to mix with it.

In the village, sand and gravel come from the river.  Getting the gravel and hauling it to the school is a lot of work.  As you can see, the work site is much higher than the river.

First the workers had to find a good spot to get a bucket or a sack of gravel that didn't have rocks that were too large.

Then they had to carry it up the steep path to the school.

It took a lot of strength and it was amazing how much gravel was carried.

Once the gravel was at the top of the hill, each carrier made his or her own pile.  Every afternoon we shoveled the piles into a large cracker can which is the standard unit of measure for gravel here.  Heidi kept a tally and when all the piles were counted the haulers followed her home for a snack and their pay.

The sand was then measured again into a volcano shaped pile, cement was added, and mixed by shovel.  It is backbreaking work.

Finally buckets of cement are poured onto the forms and the experts put on the finishing touches.

On our last full day in the village, the workers had completed not just the pads for the posts, but all the flooring, stairs from the school to the playground, and a rock path.  I couldn't believe it.  What a blessing to see so much progress!

If you want to see the final product, check out the Iron blog: 

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