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Crunch time: Day 6, Friday July 4

Crunch time: Day 6, Friday July 4

July 21, 2014

Today is crunch time—our last full-day onsite and we have to complete all the decking and final touches so the bridge is ready to cross come inauguration on Saturday morning.

Haluk and Jaime

Haluk and Jaime

Family
At the beginning of the week we were all hoping to make it through the week. While busy, the days passed slowly. Today we are all commenting how fast the week went and lamenting that we have a mere 24 hours left in La Conga. We have become immersed in the culture and community. Our hosts and the steady stream of community members that stop by the yard for meals have become family.

A week in, the kids have completely opened up to our team. They delight in welcoming each of us by name and know who has what special talent or treat to share. Lilly has Uno and other card games in Spanish and Janelli asks her each night to play. Nine-year old Gorge Luis immediately seeks out Tessa to ask for “jujeo” as he has quickly picked up the Angry Birds game. Haluk said, “I was throwing Jaime in the air today after lunch. When I came back later in the evening there were six kids in the yard all shouting at my in Spanish. It took several minutes to figure out that they were asking me to also throw them up in the air.”

DeckingDecking
Decking started at 6 a.m. before breakfast. Time to break out the self-retracting lifelines for fall protection as a pair of team members on either side would begin their journey out over the water to secure the boards. Despite the La Conga side having a nearly three hour advantage it was the La Florida side that completed their decking first.

After a week of construction, massages from team members were appreciated.

After a week of construction, massages from team members were appreciated.

“It was quite a site this afternoon when Luisa and Karen—who were covered head to toe in grease and dirt—started massaging each other,” commented Haluk.

One last hurdle
It is crunch time so Murphy’s Law dictates that all will not go as planned today. Teams completed securing their boards to the cross beams to discover that there was still a 1.5-meter gap in the middle of the bridge decking, preventing the two sides from connecting.

Mind_the_Gap

Mind the gap.

Tomas shared, “Here we don’t have the luxury of time so any unforeseen circumstances need to be overcome very quickly with innovative, on our feet thinking to develop a new solution.”

Without skipping a beat Luisa, Emily and Karen were leaving the site to head back to the rebar bending station to prepare additional sets of suspenders. They have become rebar queens and have been quite efficient at the cutting, measuring and bending process. Once onsite they had to be anchored to crossbeams and carried across the partial bridge floor where the team would need to raise and anchor them in place over the river. Blake is putting the final strokes of paint on the towers. Unfortunately dark set in before the final two suspenders were able to be set and anchored. Tomorrow would be an early morning.

Honoring the team
In honor of the bridge inauguration, the community butchered a cow. The team arrived back at the house to witness several men butchering the carcass in the front yard while the women cleaned it in the outdoor kitchen. The team enjoyed very fresh beef with peppers and onions for dinner. The women were onsite late tonight and up early Saturday to finish preparing our celebratory feast.

Vivian

Vivian

SoccerThe team enjoys their final night together onsite and with the community. Kim and Tessa danced with the girls in the yard. Blake and Eric delighted the kids by swinging them high in the air. Tomas and Haluk took in one final soccer match with the boys. Andrew tried to tease a smile out of two-year old Vivian, whom Emily had nicknamed “the brute” for her fierce independence and ability to dominate her older friends. In anticipation of the bridge completion, Jake had brought marshmallows for the team to roast over a bond fire.

We can’t believe this is our last night in La Conga and tomorrow our work will be complete.


 

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