Celebrating a Birthday on a Bridge Site

Celebrating a Birthday on a Bridge Site

June 28, 2016

Authored on June 20th, 2016 by volunteer bridge builder Gemma Harding from CH2M’s Swindon, England office.

As a biologist I am quite used to being in strange places surrounded by strange noises and wildlife but I have to say waking up on my birthday at 4:30 a.m. in a tent in Nicaragua preparing myself for a day of construction work was a first for me. Although it didn’t feel like my birthday, I felt very content lying on my camp bed listening to cockerels crowing, dogs barking and my team mates snoring. After opening a small present my sister had given me and reading some nice messages from family and friends I was feeling happy and excited for day one of the bridge build.

First day onsite, adjusting to the heat and hard work.

First day onsite, adjusting to the heat and hard work.

Fast forward 16 hours to the end of the day—I can confirm day one of the bridge construction certainly exceeded my expectations. I have managed to experience more things here in one day than I would experience in a month or perhaps even a year. Today amongst other things I have: erected scaffolding and then climbed to the top of it, played football with the local community and B2P team, had a conversation with a pig, and eaten honey straight from and including the comb.

TowerNow as I sit in my tent fresh and clean from the outdoor shower, which comes complete with a mountain view, and if you are lucky the company of a chicken, I am once again feeling very content and grateful for having spent a significant day in my life doing something so rewarding and enjoyable, which within 12 days (when construction of the 56-meter suspension bridge is scheduled to be complete) we hope to be something of significance in the lives of this very warm and hospitable community.

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June 2016


  1. Donna Burtch

    Thanks for sharing your experiences.

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