Saturday, October 28, 2023

Stairs and Sidewalk for the Health Center

In August, we completed work on a sidewalk and walkway in front of the health center.  While we originally planned to plaster the walls, a lack of skilled labor (no one had experience plastering) led us to revise our plan.  But the walkway is greatly needed!

Thank you to all of our supporters!  Without you, this work would not have been possible.

Gustavo and Victor are pouring the concrete.  It was a hot weekend with little rain.  The walkway is needed to help reduce erosion and slipping on the mud and grass when it rains.  The sidewalk took about two weeks to make, accounting for other projects and weather.

We bought and transported heavy wire mesh to reinforce the concrete of the walkway.  The trip upriver took a little over one and a half hours.  The day was good, with no rain.  The sun was intense and had us hoping for some cloud cover!

First, we placed a cord from the health center to the main village's walkway.  After that, we cut the outline of the steps into the hill.  After six months of waiting, the work is underway.

To have a good, strong cement, the sand must be sifted.  This will remove impurities that will weaken the concrete.  We had a "minga" with the villagers and scholarship kids on this day.  That is group work during which we listen to music, eat a lot of snacks, and drink cool-aid until the job is finished.

Romario, our lumberjack, cut and milled the wood to make the concrete forms.  We then placed the wire reinforcement mesh inside the forms.  The wire may be seen if you look at the picture carefully.

Then came the hard work of mixing the concrete on the ground and pouring it into the forms.  This was the most intense work of the project, done under the hot sun of the dry season.

At last, the walkway to the health center is finished and joined to the village's main sidewalk!

While the height of the stairs is not very uniform, it is much better than the slippery mud or angled concrete during and after heavy rain.

The last major work for this summer was to extend the walkway to the front of the center.  We hope to one day lengthen the reach of the roof by a meter to cover the walkway and provide an outdoor waiting area away from the rain and sun.

We had some extra bags of cement and sand.  The unused cement will not last long in the highly humid environment.  We used it to extend the sidewalk in our barrio. We plan to join our sidewalk to the village school and main sidewalk, to which we just connected the health center's sidewalk.  The neighborhood kids enjoyed watching us mix the concrete and helped to smooth it out.

This is a photo from this year, 2023.  We made these stairs six years ago with the help of volunteers from the project and community.  Due to erosion, the bottom six stairs have been covered in soil!

Would you like to support our work on the health care center for next year?  Please visit our new Ko-Fi donation site!  Click below.