The Hayes Zoo

Our Purpose

- to know God and use our entire lives in service to Him.

- to stand in the gap through prayer, giving and service to viable ministries in Latin America.

- to be transparent helpers of fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, using our resources and skills that through the Holy Spirit, we might encourage and equip those who have less.

- to share a living perspective from Latin America to our churches, friends and family in the states and beyond.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

of chickens and hammock bridges ...

Last week I spent two days working with a short-term mission team from Santa Barbara, California in a village called Belen Gualcho, building chicken coops and delivering laying hens to several families. I also spent two days in Mapulaca working on bridge-related stuff.

The pictures in this post are a sort of working documentary of the bridge project to date. I mentioned in a post a few weeks ago that Allen Sowers and I have been working on a design for a series of bridges in the southern part of the departamento of Lempira, in conjunction with several local communities and a humanitarian organization called ASONOG. This past week we made a trip to Mapulaca to deliver most of the designed and welded pieces needed for the first of these, and also met with the foreman overseeing the labor on the job and took some final measurements of where the bridge will go.

These pieces, and the design overall, are the product of several days of design work, creating solid-model parts and assemblies of the design in 3-D CAD (which we just happen to have on our computer), making and printing drawings of the parts off the computer model, and then ordering material and cutting, forming and welding the pieces up in our carport. All this, amidst cats, drying laundry and kids doing homework. We sound like some kind of pathetic garage band or crazed science fiends.

The above picture is of an early draft of one of the drawings. I say this because it's a bit of a mess, but was fine for using myself to make the bends in the rebar and weld up the pieces. Part of the project, however, involves getting the drawings into a state where the local people will be able to build off of them; thus the Spanish. Copies of these drawings have already been made for a couple of municipalities here and other parties who are interested in the design, with more meetings already planned with international aid organizations.

Once the rebar is cut and bent, the whole thing is welded together. The pipes are for the cables of the bridge to wrap around. In general it's not necessary to weld rebar for something like this, but with the inclusion of the pipes we need to weld them.

Square columns for the corners. A very common building practice in Latin America is to have sets of 4 rebar, wired together to form a square column that is then left sticking out the top of un-finished cement structures. These have to fit together with other pieces, and so most of the supporting wires are left off for now.

Delivery of the pieces to the bridge site. The drive takes the better part of 5 hours each way, over roads in some places 6 inches deep in powdery dust. The final half hour is over terrain I really don't think one could get over without 4 wheel drive and serious ground clearance. The river is low enough to walk over now.

Pieces delivered to a house just up the bank from the bridge site. It will be several weeks before these will be installed; to keep them from walking off we leave them close to someone's house.

Bridge site. This picture is taken from the site of one of the abutments; total bridge length will be about 130 feet.

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