Monday, August 16, 2010

Cement Forms Construction Sites

Last Wednesday, there was a small group of people who broke from the main group to prepare the cement forms for 4 schools. These cement slabs are then used for the water tanks to sit on. First, the ground needed to be leveled with a pick axe, shovel and the best tool of all the pry-bar. In case you don't know what a pry-bar is, it's a huge metal rod with a sharpened pointy end. It is excellent at breaking up cement.
The first school is the one that took the longest as we all had to learn how to build a form to pour cement. By the end of the day we were all experts at hammering, leveling and digging.

You take 2 long pieces of plywood and a 2 short pieces of plywood and you make a rectangle of 4 meters by 2 meters. You then move the box onto the space where you want it. Then comes the most difficult part, leveling the form. You take a level and make sure that the bubble is in the middle of the tube. Most often it isn't and you have to dig the ground out; the cold ground, that occasionally has lots of rocks and or chunks of cement in it. Once the ground is leveled, the rebar rods were driven into the ground with large hammers. Nothing better then hitting a small stick of metal with a 14 lb. hammer! The final step before packing up was tying some wire to the rebar on the long ends. You ensure the tension by making 45 degree twist on the wire. By the last school we had it to such a system that we got it done in 30 minutes!

I am still not doing well with Afrikaans. I can't get spelling or pronunciation properly at one of the schools I had to write down the name of the school. As i was writing it out Rodger said I could just call the school "Chicken". This got great laughs from the locals, but left the canadians confused.

What I tried as the spelling for the school was "Ookopuko". This got a laugh from the south African scout with us who offered to spell it for me. "Impucuko" is the proper spelling.

By Caroline Kwong

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