Friday, April 17, 2009

Final youth group...(let out a deep breath, sleep for days)



Although it is kind-of sad to see them go, the last Builders Beyond Borders group has come and gone, and now I will be back to the Dominican pace of life.  We had a very succesful 5.5 days of work.  We put around 1400 ft. of pipe in the group, put up the walls of our solar community center, and put the roof on!  I have to say that the community center was the most fun I have had in a while.  It reminded me of my Habitat days in college, measuring wood, cutting, and nailing.  We went with a roof design that was a mezcla of Dominican and American styles.  Half of the roof beams were trusses made to American standards and the other half were just beams coming down from the main roof beam.  Thats how most Dominican houses are made(and the main beam usually bends down, but doesn't fall, and that seems fine to them!)  But when the trusses were up and the roof was on it just made me extremely proud.  I showed them a new way to do things, and they questioned and fought back against me every step of the way.  But in the end they all said it was a pretty design and I "know too much".  Also, on the last day we sent water across my new big bridge and through all of the pipes the kids put in, to the other side of the river.  Everything went to plan and we opened a faucet more than an hour walk from the water source!  It was the first water to ever come out of a faucet on that side of the river, and I was proud that my bridge didn't even seem to budge.  All in all, life is good right now.  I am an extremely lucky human being.  It makes me feel great to be here, alive, and living.  

Monday, April 6, 2009

Just like how it looks...

I just like how my newly built pipeline bridge looks.  Puts a smile on my face.  Who wants to smile...check it out! video

Friday, April 3, 2009

Update

So we are still chugging away at laying pipe in the ground and recently we put up the first of our giant river crossings.  It is about 170 ft. across and I was very happy when it did not fall down.  You can do all the engineering and design you want but when you see something that big go up, and not fall down...it just makes you smile!  So I have another group from Builders Beyond Borders coming though in a week and they are going to start digging on the far side of the crossing.  The plan is to send water through the crossing and all of the pipe they manage to put down in 5 days and have another water inauguration, again in a place that has never had water before!  So I'm sure it'll be another sappy occasion where manly Dominicans will start bawling and lead to me being in the same boat!  It should be great.  Also, we have been working our butts off getting the foundation ready for the small solar-powered community center we will be building with the kids.  We have really been under the gun with work ever since late January because of all the planning that goes into a Builders Beyond Borders group.  And thats great!  As much as my life has become a lot less chill, there is nothing like 40 Americans to get some Dominicans in gear!  And I have had to really work on doling out responsibility in all different directions.  I am a camp counselor, a work foreman, and a design engineer in charge of an aqueduct, solar center, and now a solar electrification project!  And...yea, a Peace Corps volunteer that doesn't make any money.  

After the B3 group leaves in two weeks I hope we can finish the aqueduct in about a month or so more of work.  This all really depends on the weather.  If it rains almost no work gets done and sometimes my road disappears.  So if we can stay dry I think we have a good chance.  Lets all cross our fingers.