sxshentai"

Blog

Bridging a Future

Bridging a Future

December 8, 2015

Authored by Tami Hansen, a document processor in CH2M’s Salt Lake City office. In February, Tami will join a dozen global colleagues to volunteer with Bridges to Prosperity to construct an 80-meter suspended bridge in the community of Butare, Rwanda.

Bridging a future—preparing for a 12-day bridge build, which will span 80-meters across the River Bakokwe in Butare, Rwanda, is no small feat. An international team of CH2M and Bridges to Prosperity (B2P) members will work with local Rwandans to build approach ramps, hang cables, and attach decking and fencing for a bridge that will benefit an area of one of the most densely populated countries in the world. The community has identified access to healthcare as their top priority and this new bridge will provide that, along with access to schools and giving 800 small businesses and farmers access to commercial markets The Butare bridge will provide access for 8,000 people in the region.

A friend and I hanging out at the hammock hut in the middle of the Costa Rican rain forest.

A friend and I hanging out at the hammock hut in the middle of the Costa Rican rain forest.

My aunt and I with the local zip lining crew.

My aunt and I with the local zip lining crew.

An opportunity to overcome my fear of jungle snakes.

An opportunity to overcome my fear of jungle snakes.

Ready to ride horses up the side of Aerenal, a large volcano in Costa Rica.

Ready to ride horses up the side of Aerenal, a large volcano in Costa Rica.

Costa Rican breakfast, rice and beans with every meal…even pancakes.

Costa Rican breakfast, rice and beans with every meal…even pancakes.

I applied for this volunteer opportunity thinking this would defiantly be a once in a lifetime experience, but I never thought in a million years I would be chosen to be part of something so amazing. It combines my biggest passions in life: serving others, learning new things, and traveling; as well as fulfilling a bucket list item to visit Africa.

I have so many questions, most of which I know will be answered by just going and being absorbed in a foreign culture for a few weeks. At this point snakes are my biggest concern, but according to numerous websites, snakes are typically shy and I “should consider myself lucky to see one in the wild.” Note taken, but I might have a different opinion after actually seeing one.

As far as more in-depth research, looking back on past experiences, I know what I think the experience will be like will completely change once I get there. I’ll be going with a fresh perspective and not too many Google facts and images in my head (there will be time for research, comparisons, and reflections when I get back). The one lesson I’ve learned from past trips is the culture is always richer and more complex than I can imagine, the people friendlier, and the local food completely different from what I am used to. One of my team members mentioned goat meat will most likely be the protein we eat, which I’ve never had and feel a bit nervous about trying; so, I can only compare it to my experience in Costa Rica, where I allowed myself to feel grateful for what was provided and delve into the new smells and flavors afforded, some of which I wish I could get here at home. One of the great pleasures of traveling is to enjoy having your senses turned upside down.

For now, I am going to increase my daily cardio, work on breaking in my new steel toe boots, and continue to feel as if “this can’t really be happening.” I’m looking forward to working shoulder-to-shoulder with my fellow CH2M-ers, Bridges to Prosperity, and mostly the local people who will benefit from this bridge. We’ve had our first team meeting, a small, international group of us all planning to meet up in Rwanda—the land of a thousand hills. I am beyond excited to be able to be part of this, to create opportunity for 8,000 community members in Butare, Rwanda so they can safely access markets, medical facilities, and schools. I feel privileged to be able to create change and to build hope for the future.

 

 

 

Go back to blog list

Share this article

nav_3 nav_1 nav_2 nav_4
2-38
December 2015

Leave a comment

Subscribe

RSS
contact us