Thursday, July 5, 2007

Construction in Bolivia

Jobsite goalposts are a necessity for the regular soccer games

My trip to Bolivia last week did contain some official business, quite a bit actually.

NPH Bolivia will be moving to their new site in January, during the summer school break for the kids. They began construction in July of last year and have almost completed their dining facilities (the punchlist is shrinking). They are also continuing construction on six houses which each hold 16 kids in four bedrooms and two caregivers in another. Another four houses will be following next with their schedule depending on funding.

I visited the property with their project manager, Pascal, who is from Belgium, and it was wonderful to be back on a construction site.

I nostalgically sniffed the fragrance of cut metal drifting on the breeze (my first construction job ever was a school, so steel studs were a code requirement and the burly construction worker who cut them was so thrilled I gave him a nickname he didn’t seem to mind that it was the Steel Stud Fairy).

So many things were comfortingly familiar. They keep an organized site. They have reflective torch down on the flat roof of the Comedor (dining building). They’re in the middle of cleaning construction dust off of everything. And they have a beautiful finished product.

Like Nicaragua, there are some differences too. When the cows get too close to the houses, they’re chased away by workers. The workers sleep in the homes they’re building (it’s easy to make sure they’re at work!). And sometimes they bring their kids to work.

The buildings and homes which are nearing completion are the beginning of a new chapter for NPH Bolivia. There is much more to do on the construction site in the following years, a school, a hospital and offices to name a few. But the work that has been done so far has created a strong foundation for the future of this home (ok, yeah, that was a cheesy pun!).

This porch wraps around 3 sides of the Comedor

Home Sweet Home!

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