Sunday, March 20, 2011

Building Bridges

Anyone who has built a bridge (any kind of bridge, actually) knows it's a lot of work! But bridges are essential because without them, you're stymied. Stuck. Hindered from going further. And no one wants that.

In the above photo is the freshly graded road to the mission airstrip (taken in November 2010). The break in the middle is where a bridge needs to be built to span a seasonal river.

The gap is 3-4 meters wide and 2-2.5 meters deep. Getting things done to this point has been a big job, and the work isn't done yet.

This week, Ron Wayner and the guys cut some big trees for the wood needed so this bridge can be completed. Without sophisticated machinery, it's quite an ominous job loading the huge logs onto the 4 ton truck. Many hands are needed.

A very heavy truck, indeed.

Then comes the fun of unloading. Here is one tactic we use in rural Africa.

Get a rope and tie the one end to the heavy load to be moved,
then tie the other end to something that is less likely to move. A sturdy tree will do.

Then drive away, very slowly and carefully of course, and let the laws of physics do their thing.

Next, the logs have to be prepared...cleaned, shaved, trimmed and in the right shape!

It's a huge task, but all a part of building those important bridges we need to keep things moving.

And speaking of things moving, I'm very pleased to tell you that finally this week the Chitundo Clinic celebrated its opening! This project has also been a big task, but many joined hands with us to make it possible. So to all you who helped to dig holes, build and paint the walls, put in doors and shelving, paint and purchase the necessary items, sweep and clean the yard, and so on and so on...congratulations on a job well done!

The morning of the grand opening.
The strip of ribbon across the entry, and the entire community,
patiently await the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

In these parts, important celebrations are marked by the rhythmic beating of drums.

And joyful dancing, too.

Dwight and the community leader shaking hands. This day has been a long time coming!

Inside the consultation room, a toast, with Mozambique's most popular drinks: Coke and Fanta.

Celestino helps to unpack the clinic's first medicine "kit". He will work closely with the new Health Workers to help provide orientation and guidance to them as they adjust to their new role.

Joao, Celestino, Barb Wayner, and the new Health Workers. Barb provided most of the photos for this post. Thank you, Barb!

Other events of the week:

Good progress was made building the training center trusses.

Which were then carried by hand to the truck--Mozambique bush-style--10 or so men to carry each truss. They were heavy!
They were then loaded on the truck to be taken to the training center.

This place is becoming more beautiful each day!

Autumn marks the season when we can finally get the garden into shape after summer. Seems backwards, doesn't it?! This garden grows vegetables for the school feeding program.

Some much needed drip irrigation pipe was also installed near the litchi orchard where we grow small crops of maize and soy beans.

And with all that busyness, Barb and Eunice took the time to do some bridge-building of a different kind with a crippled widow and her blind daughter. This didn't require the same physical effort as building a bridge out of cement and logs, but it was critical nonetheless.

Sharing some encouraging words.

Having a small discussion. I love the smiles!

Here, the widow (who has arthritis and chronic hip pain) receives a mattress left by a visitor from Canada. It's the first mattress she has ever owned in her entire life. Before now, she always slept on the hard ground on a thin, woven grass mat. What joy!

And last but not least, the reptile and strange pets part :)

I guess it's chameleon season again.

And my husband is not one to turn his back on anything that moves without first spending a bit of quality time with it!

Bob too, it would seem.

It's always important to build bridges. Even the small ones.

If you'd like to see clips of our klipspringer on youtube, click here. Other videos of the work will follow this week!

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