The team started the day with breakfast at 6:30 am. The menu included boiled eggs and bread with peanut butter and jam.
After breakfast we drove to site, which took around 30 minutes. It was fascinating to see everyone starting their day. The roadways were full of children heading to school, people carting goods to market, and, as we got off the beaten track towards the bridge site, farmers ploughing their fields with oxen. We were able to tell which students were classmates by the different color uniforms they had on
The last stretch to site justified renting off road capable vehicles, as we had to cross a number of deep streams and uneven round on route. Those that weren’t fully awake after breakfast were now raring to go!
As we approached the bridge site, we heard the sounds of the strongly flowing Sipi River before we actually saw it. The surrounding land is gorgeous with green, lush hills and banana and yucca plants.
On arrival at site, we unloaded our tools, donned our PPE and gathered around for introductions. Members of the local community, chairmen of the village, and one elder all expressed there gratitude for the project, and explained the need for the bridge.
Becky lead Stretch and Flex , showing off her superman and superwoman skills. We then went on a site walk-through and began our work for the day.
Issa, Mike, Jenny and Sarah were on the decking crew. Tasks included moving all the nailer boards from storage out to work area, cutting off the ends of all decking planks, and fastening the steel C-channel to the nailer. We managed to fasten all the nailer boards to the channel and moved onto marking, cutting, and drilling all of the top boards. Not sure what they coat the boards with but they sure are heavy, especially after fastening the steel channel to them
Dave C and Vinay were tasked with setting the cable sag. The cable team worked hard all day and we stayed on site until sunset to ensure they were able to complete their work.
Jeremy, Fred, and Dave S compromised team rock fill. This task was painful to watch, out in the scorching sun manhandling large sized rocks and tossing them into the foundations – in the blazing sun. Rocks were placed and grout poured around the cables. We batched the concrete on site and utilized wheel barrows and buckets to get it across the temporary bridge and up the other side of the bank to the foundations. It was hard work!
Becky helped all of us! she ensured safety on site and worked with the decking crew when she was available.
As for food, we had two meals served during the work day. One at break time, and then another for lunch. At ‘break tea’ (morning tea) we got to try Uganda’s most famous street food called ‘Rolex’. Rolex is a fried chapati (similar in texture to a Korean pancake) with eggs rolled up inside. For side dishes we had pineapple, avocado, some sort of fried cake, and fresh boiled milk. For lunch we had cooked greens, beef stew, banana mush, rice, and boiled potatoes. The food was fantastic and it just kept on coming!
Shortly after 5 the community kids came down to the river to fill water, swim, point, laugh, and smile at the sight our team. They were all very curious and after a few introductions we all bonded extremely well, especially over Issa’s videos on his smartphone. Take a look at some of the photos! We couldn’t ask for a more rewarding way to end a hard days work.