March Madness

Same old. Same old. More mudding, some Habitat for Humanity building and some more logistical/managerial work.

All Hands has joined forces with Habitat for Humanity Philippines to help build Phase III—more permanent homes—for victims of Sendong. All Hands recruited international workers: one project manager and two field/construction coordinators. They have also hired a translator, HR manager for the local workers (about 80 of them) and a logistician (to order all the sand, gravel, re-bar, cement, painting supplies, etc). We are among one of dozens of organizations that are subcontracted to complete a certain number of homes.

Lately, I have been working on the habitat site, which is a fifteen minute walk from our base, on most days. The number of volunteers has been shrinking because we are approaching the date when the project was originally scheduled to end. Therefore, due to the low number of international volunteers and the need to get these first fifteen houses finished by mid April everyone has been working in the hot sun at the Habitat site. There will be multiple sites and this is the first one.

I have learned how to properly mix a good batch of morter and fill mix for constructing walls. Morter involves three buckets of sand, one bucket of water and one bucket of cement. Fill requires three sand, three gravel, one water and one cement. Cement requires a perfect amount of water to ingredient ration. You do not want your mix to be too dry or too wet because then the cement will not reaction properly or it will be too difficult to use. Also, if the cement ends up sitting in the wheelbarrow for too long then it might dry out, which is bad for strength of the cement. One must mix and pour into buckets depending on the temperature of the day and how fast the masons are using the cement.

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