B2P- Day 4 – Harness Time

After eating our typical breakfast ( boiled eggs, PB&J on bread and Pineapple) our convoy headed out to site with the optimistic goal of having the fence prepped and all 120 swings attached to the bridge, which we achieved. We are using the term swings to describe the hanger, nailer and c-channel assembly that will be suspended at 1 meter intervals to support the decking.

Issa lead ‘Stretch and Flex’ this morning as the vehicle Becky was riding in decided it was time to refuel. Sarah gave a morning safety talk and we were off to the races.

Jen and Issa took on the fencing prep task. Work included carrying the 18 meter rolls of chain-link from the storage and then rolling them out on the “flatter” part of  site. The chain-link was then rolled out and stretched before nailing the wood curb to it. Challenges included utilizing u-nails not intended for this application, so we had a small crew adjust the opening size on all the u-nails. The quality of the fence manufacturing was “adequate”, it took additional effort with a pair of pliers to tie in loose ends and inconsistencies in the links.

The Sanzara bridge is 60 meters long, requiring 120 meters of fence. Jen and Issa and a team of local workers prepped 6 rolls of 18 meter chain-link. This encompassed 3 rolls for each side and then a spliced 6 meter section to cover the distance.

The rest of the team rotated through installing the swings. This work consisted of carrying the nailer boards and hangers from where we prepped them to both left and right abutments.  The struts were then placed onto the lower cables where the team  installed steel rebar hangers through the c-channel. The top of the steel rebar was then bent over the  upper cables to suspend the swings.

The team utilized a brilliant idea of tying 1 meter lengths of rope between each installed swing. This will ensure all hangers are evenly spaced across the bridge when dragged into place using haul ropes from below.

Dave S found some time to utilize the DSLR Camera and the GoPro. He scouted out the best vantage point in an attempt to capture a time lapse video. We will share this once we can process it back at home. After finding the perfect vantage point, he went on a little photo shoot, taking a few team members down to the river and engaging a lot of the community kids. At one point, Dave harmlessly took a picture of a cow in the river and was shortly after approached by the farmer who asked him for compensation. He believed Dave would make substantial amounts of money in selling the pictures of his cows, as they were the ‘best cows in all Uganda’. Dave had a good laugh with the gentleman, and after some explanation as to what we are doing the farmer was actually appeared to be more interested in viewing all the photos of the bridge we had taken this week. There is a level of excitement in the community about the build. We often have groups of observers come and watch the bridge’s progress, not to mention all the local kids pouring in after 5 pm to find the Muzugu’s and in particular Sarah’s Polaroid camera, whose images are a very hot commodity with local children. Sarah brought 100 films for the camera, and is already saying she should have brought more.

Of all the team members here, Dave S has progressed the most in learning the local languages. The issues with the languages is the quantity of them, there are 4 languages spoken within a 50 km radius. Dave has a little pocket book where he has written the translation of a few words in all the languages after his chats with the locals.

Around mid-morning we anticipated we were going to be short of rock back fill for the left abutment. To counter this so a crew of 20 local workers trooped up the hill to harvest the basalt boulders for the abutment. Many of the workers, women in particular, chose to carry the rock on there heads as it was said to be ‘more comfortable’ this way. They put a wrapped banana leaf on their heads followed by the boulder, and appeared to glide over the rough ground with two free hands.

For lunch we had beef stew and bananas.

Check out the images for the day below.

Dave S being presented with a fish near lunch time.

One child emerged from a group of hysterical laughter with ‘Muzugu … Fish’ and then proceeded to show off his catch.

Dave’s new camera crew