Jan 13, 2010

The Floor is Poured

In a single day, the entire floor of the community center gets poured.
Category:Peru 2009/10 
Posted by: Rome

From Rome Ventura

Hello again everyone!

It's Wednesday morning and the transition day between Week 4 Volunteers leaving and the Week 5 Team arriving. That means that only us die-hards who are here for multiple weeks and the Peruvian Volunteers will be working. I'm writing from a hotel in Lima where I spent the night to get a break after 11 weeks here.  Clean sheets, flushing toilet and a hot shower....I'm all charged up for the push through the final 4 weeks to completion!

The Week 3 Team powered up and was able to get the last 1/3 of the roof on in their last 2 days on site, leaving us fully covered for Team 4 to pour the floor under shade!

The big monolithic floor pour had been scheduled for Jan 8th, since before Christmas so the Week 3 Team was also charged with getting the gravel on the floor compacted, the whole rebar mat wired up, (set up on rebar chairs to make sure we get the concrete properly under the mat) and set the stakes for the screed rails to elevation.

When Week 4 Volunteers arrived we finished setting the last of the grade stakes, planed down the screed rail lumber since the local lumber dimensions didn't fit smoothly into the screed brackets we brought in the container from the states.

Thursday we did 3 dress rehearsals for the next day's pour.  2 different ones for the Peruvian Volunteers that Contreras recruited to help because they had concrete experience and one for us.  Our Week 4 translators, Nico and Rueben did a great job.  Translating bull float is really funny!  Anyway, the 4 local guys with experience were really great and I hoped that they got the concept that this floor pour was NOT to be 'poleered', that is to say, polished.  Their custom is to rub the surface for a really long time and add cement powder to the top of the slab as the water gets worked to the surface.  Since this was going to be a high strength seismic pour with fiber added, we really did not want to work the surface at all....place it, screed it, set the zip strip and bull float it in 2 strokes....you're done.  Don't get the water rising to the top!  Got it?  Oh, yeah and no talking!!!   Right.

The next morning, we got up at 4 am, (it was RACE DAY after all) with Billy blowing revelry on the horn he brought!  Our camp was up, and so was the whole neighborhood!  

The pour went flawlessly. The local concrete guys were one team and the Lesotho guys and Michael were another on the screed rails.  We leap-frogged the 4 long sections of the floor. Emily and David set the zip strip, backed up by Shelly and her team who were checking the elevation of the screed brackets on the transit and moving the screed rails to the next section ahead.  Izzy was on one bull float (the long handled smoothing tool pictured here) and one of the Peruvians guys who got gutsy and was on the other one.  He was very afraid to use it at first and then grinned the rest of the pour.  No one had ever seen one before.  Catherine and Fooks were on the hose keeping everything wet ahead of the mud.  Then there was Machado and a line of about 30 people on the concrete pump hose!  It's super heavy, awkward to move, you can't step on the rebar and you have to keep from bumping into the screed stakes set to elevation!  We used some 5 gallon buckets set upside down to rest it on in the few minutes between each set.  They fit great between the 18" rebar mat and gave people a much needed break during the 5 and a half hour pour.
Great job team!!!!

So, guess what we did the next morning?  Poured the concrete footing of Terrace #3 of course! The boogie (wheelbarrow) run down the hill continues. Yup, not only that, we did it all in one pour that ended at 12:30, our normal stopping time on a Saturday.  That's a new record....usually we pour a terrace footing in 2 days.
Go team!

On Sunday, we don't usually have Peruvian volunteers, but this week a few showed up and we began the process of rolling/throwing rocks down the hill from above our camp.  We are now building the rock wall that will run along the south and east side of the building and we needed to gather all the rocks we could.  Everyone had a lot of fun ....at least at first....now it's getting harder because we've gotten all the ones that are close by.  First it was sand and 'boogies' now it's rocks and 'boogies'!  David made an awesome set of rock steps at the southeast corner and the wall is looking great.  All the kids talk/joke about their Inca blood lines.

This week contained a special event in that Nelida threw a wonderful thank you party at her house in Lima to honor our Lesotho volunteers, who are scheduled to leave in the next week. It also happened to be Nico's 40th birthday - so we celebrated that as well.   She had 2 vans come and pick us all up for a treat.  Food catered by the Pflucker family, a band, dancing and plenty of beverages ;- )  The evening included some singing, horn playing and our Lesotho friends on the keyboards.  A great evening for all and very much appreciated. 
Yup, up at 5 am the next day.  Headache, schmedache!

Emily and her 2 teams of Peruvian block layers are cruising and just started their 10th course of blocks.

We've bolted down all the 2x4(ish) plates for the floor plan and started standing the walls.  Very cool day, because now you can walk the floor plan and the building is taking on the feel of the real rooms as the walls go up. We should have real toilets next week!

This team also managed to frame and brace the walls of Terrace #3 which we'll pour on Thursday.

So, tons of things hit the mark on critical pivot points and we are off to the finish line now.
135 sheets of green board and drywall are stacked on the floor and the windows, doors and trim are standing by.

Here comes Week 5!
Have a great day,