I woke up with every muscle sore. I could hardly clench my fist. The vast variety of exercises we have been doing the last few days made me aware of every muscle I had and when exactly I used them. Mixing concrete, moving big rocks, and shoveling huge piles of dirt to move them out of the way consumed most of our time at the work site thus far, and today was the day when we would finish the bridge!
When we first got there, the bridge was not quite ready to be cemented. Some of the iron supports still needed to fixed before mixing and pouring. While this was happening Mike and I noticed this one elderly man chopping away at a tree that was in the way of the wall that will ultimately be built. He had no shoes, no shirt, no water, and no gloves but just consistently kept whacking away at the base of the tree. During one of his breaks, Mike and I went over and started chopping away at the tree. We took three or four minute intervals at the tree and the old man jumped in on the rotation. Even though we couldn’t speak the same language, we were able to cheer each other on with “wi’s” and thumbs ups. Thinking I could help him out, I offered my gloves to help his hands, but he rejected them because his hands were leathery smooth from all of the years of hard manual labor he’s done. Eventually the tree fell, but not without a fight.
Finally we got the go ahead to start cementing the bridge. This required many different people and we set up an efficient assembly line with many different positions. We had people who would mix up the cement with water, cement mix, and gravel, people who filled the buckets with cement, people who passed the buckets along the line, people who poured the cement, and then people to return the buckets. There were also people there who would level and smooth out the cement. It was a very hot day and so we would have to have substitutes for people who would overheat and need to take a water break. With this system however, we were able to continue working nonstop throughout the whole day except for lunch. By the end of the day our hard work paid off and we were able to pour the last bucket of cement to top off the bridge. It was very rewarding and hard to believe that two days ago there was no way to cross this creek except for the skinny little wall! A good feeling!
To reward all of our hard work we go to spend the night at the beach swimming in the crazy warm water and enjoying fellowship with each other!