Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Building Project Details

The community center that we are building is primarily concrete and sand bags.  Every day when we first arrive at the site, we fill up a large bucket with sand and mix that with cement and water.  The ratio of sand to cement is 8:1.  The sand is plentiful in the area because the site was once under water.

Gradually mixing water in with cement and sand

Blending the pile of concrete

The cement is now mixed and ready for plaster work

After we mix the concrete, we have been spreading a thin layer with a spackler on the existing walls and smoothing it with a float. Most days this is challenging, but some days it is just plain frustrating.  You have to get the cement mix just right.  And then if the walls are too hot from the sun, you get the wall just perfect, and then it falls off in big chunks. On cooler, windy days, the cement stays wetter and is easier to work with.  We have learned that if we add a fair amount of water when you are smoothing it, you have better success.

Estelle working on "her" wall

Sarah applies a smooth top cement layer to her wall masterpiece

John works to fill in a wall that needed straightening

Tom and Matteo tag teaming

The next step with the existing walls is to paint them.  We might get to do some painting during the last week we are on the project.  We also need to add the windows and the roof to the building.

These are the type of windows we may install in some areas later

Since the city is going to install playground equipment for the kids, we are going to convert their current play area into another building site.  So this week we are going to concentrate on filling sandbags and starting to build a new wall.  Eventually this building will be used partially for a community kitchen, and potentially as a place where the older kids can come for tutoring.

The kids play area will be moved, leaving room for a kitchen

The nursery school kids make every work day a fun day

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