As of September 28th, we reached our funding goal!! I would like to especially thank my family, friends, the RPCVs of CT (Maureen Shanley!), and EVERYONE who donated, or even just spread the word and helped advertise the project. I really appreciate everyone's help; and I promise to keep this blog updated as often as possible with pictures and updates of the construction process. It is a great relief to have the money secure; and to be able to move forward in the construction process. In fact, the community and myself have already begun preparing the work site, as the community is responsible for 25% of the cost of the project in the form of manual labor and the gathering of natural resources that exist in the area. We have already begun hauling sand to the worksite, as well as crushing up the large boulders at the work site to use during construction. Now that we have the funds to purchase the rest of the necessary tools/supplies; the real construction can begin!! The rainy season is still a few months off, which should leave us with enough time to fully complete the bridge before the cyclones hit (hopefully!). Here are some pictures of the work which has been done over these last few weeks...
|Rakoto, the local mason breaking up the boulders at the bridge site.|
|After a week he has succeeded in breaking up a few of the boulders and forming almost perfectly shaped bricks. Tena mahay izy.|
While the masons are hard at work on one side of the river, the villagers from my Fokontany (which consists of 5 villages) are each contributing in the hauling of sand from one site to the construction site. Unfortunately, the good sand (fine grains, no dirt) is a decent distance from the worksite, so the process is long and arduous. Now that summer is upon us (and it is hoooot), it can be difficult to accomplish much in a single day. However, the people have been very mazoto (hard-working) so far, and we have accomplished quite a bit in the last week. Mind you, there is no good trail (for a wagon) or road from the sand collection site to the work site, so it is all hauled by hand (or head).
|Some days the workers consist of the ladies and the kiddies...|
|...some days it's just the kiddies...|
|And other days the big guns show up.|
|...and I am also there every day. I have gotten very good at carrying sand on my head. I think my posture has improved significantly over these last few weeks.|
|The sand collection site...|
|The tin box is called a "daba", and it the measurement used for sand and rock. We need 1150 dabas of sand....|
|However, after 2 weeks, we already have 600 dabas!|