Saturday, January 28, 2012



We are are finished!!! Yersterday (Friday) was our last day in San Jose Petacalapa, and believe it or not we were able to finish the bridge completely! Since my last post on Wednesday we formed, poured, and finished the curbs on Thursday; Friday was spent installing the timber guardrails marking the end of our work on the bridge. Today we woke early to drive into Guatemala City which is the last stop before our flight tomorrow afternoon back to the states. This was the first day I haven't hammered nails, tied rebar, or cut lumber in three weeks. Instead I spent the day with my new friends driving in a van and then perused through a market in the city and finally explored a nearby mall...

There is so much that can be said about this unforgettable and life changing experience, but I'm sorry to say that I am at a loss of words. We (the team) have been through so much in the past month; our tribulations may have discouraged us at times, but they only strengthened our will to finish. I never doubted that we would be able to build this bridge, but as I sit and look back on it I realize that it is only by God's grace that we actually did it. I mean it is amazing what can be done with a circular saw, hammer, a little bit of know how, and a lot of Guatemalans who do not even own shoes!!!! I have a lot more scars, bruises, and aches because of this trip; but more importantly I have much more friends, awesome experiences, and fond memories.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Si Se Puede!!!

Success!!! We finished the big pour today....... The day started with us arriving at the job site with 50 or so Guatemalans standing there waiting for direction, typical for any concrete day. We then preceded to button any last minute needs for the formwork and rebar. It was music to my ears when I heard those 2, 90 year old mixures fire up and the word Vamos was shouted amongst the crowd!!! I took post at one of the abutments where the concrete was first placed, one bucket at a time. I was pleased with the mix, placement, and vibration of the concrete and all seemed to be going well. We had a few setbacks for the next hour or so as the one bulk head started to bulge and so did the sides of the beams. I had to stop the concrete for about 15 minutes as we did the best we could to remedy the problem. After that I gave the word and those mixers started turning once again...5 hours later all of the concrete was in and the structure was standing strong. This marks a huge moment in the project as we will be leaving in a few days and only a couple of tasks left to complete, a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders!!!!!!!!!!!

Finally, the big pour!!!

Today is the day, we finally have come to the time of the big pour! If all goes well the deck and beams will be finished today...... It has taken many hours of struggle, hard work, determination, and prayer to get this far. Sorry for the lack of pictures, I will add some tonight. Wish us, luck!!!!

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Friday, January 20, 2012

Super, super, superstructure!!!

Greetings my faithful followers...

It has been a couple of days since my last post and I thought you could use some more photos as you can now really see what the bridge will look like, it is taking shape now. Up to this point we have been able to cross the river from abutment to abutment with the false work. We also formed up all of the beams in one day!!! We have been making good progress each day despite the fact we have been held each day waiting on needed materials. Our success is a due to the combination of a lot things, but since today is Gary's last full work day I would like to give him a shout out. He has been an exceptional and necessary part of this project, without his expertise and craftsmanship, I'm sure we will would much further behind schedule. Thanks Gary!!!! Well here are those pictures I mentioned....

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sunday, Funday!!!

Well it's Sunday, but definitely not a day of rest! Today we had a few villagers show up and we started constructing formwork for the wing walls right away...we were able to finish them and get them in the hole so now we are expecting concrete tomorrow at 6:00 am. Hopefully by the end of the day we will have completed the entire substructure and we will be ready to start with the falsework on Tuesday. Here are some pictures, enjoy!!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Another day another dollar

Hello everybody,

It has been a few days since my last post and we have accomplished a lot in that time. We formed and poured the abutment walls (those are the walls the bridge sits on). We have also set the rebar cages for all of the wing walls and formed up the one side of the is starting to look like something. It is amazing how big it is, looks smaller on paper!!

Anyway I'm enjoying myself here in the heat. The people are friendly and always smiling, and I have been able to eat about 4 meals a day, which is a little short of my usuall 6 but I can't complain.

It is nice to just be outside in the jungle and building this awesome structure. The team from delaware is great, my guatemalans are great....overall it has been a good experience, so far. It has been a challenge managing this large group of workers during this complex project, especially when no one speaks english!! But I'm learning and having fun...if I have time after dinner I will post more photos, it is a sight to see!

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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Busy, busy, busy!!


Sorry I have not posted yet since my arrival, I have been super busy building a bridge......

Anyway, my adventure has been nothing short of monumental so far! It's a miracle we made it here in one piece, the driving here is CRAZY!!! I can spend all night talking about how much better New Jersey drivers compare these hombres.

We start early and work until the sun goes down, from there we clean ourselves up a little bit then eat some dinner. Next we have a meeting to go over our progress and figure the next day's activities. Finally it's buenos noches for me!!

Our first day was spent verifying elevations, establishing the proper layouts, and tying rebar. The team did amazing work the first week, leaving us a good starting point to continue. This enabled us to complete the rebar on the far side footing and start the close side....All in all a great day of progress!!

Today the men showed up bright and early to set up the concrete mixers and prep for the pours. To my surprise they were able to set up pour the entire far side footing in a few short hours, all with one small mixer. The meanwhile we hurried and finished the rebar in the close footing. The men wasted no time and set up two mixers to complete the close today we finshed all of the footing rebar, poured both footings, and tied the rebar cages for both abutment wall, now that is what I call a success!! The workers here never cease to amaze me, they are so small but so fuerte (strong)!!! They also don't stop smiling!! It makes our jobs a lot easier...

Here are some photos to give everybody an idea of what we are doing...