Friday, April 8, 2016

Day 5: Routine & Rhythm

We all crave it; it's human nature. Our work this week has been a new routine, even though each day has required different work. We have fallen into a pattern, a rhythm. We wanted to give you a feel for our construction work.

 On build day # 1 we arrived at the work site with great energy and little technical knowledge of what we would be doing. Our Habitat Para La Humanidad crew consisted of site engineers, site supervisors, bus drivers, masons and homeowners who were putting in their sweat equity. Each helped teach us skills and shared their personal stories throughout the week cementing our love of this project, the Habitat organization here in Nicaragua, and the homeowner families. Each day on the site we've been asked to perform different skills. When we arrived on Monday the foundation blocks for each structure head been laid with two courses above ground and at least five below. The first day was all about laying block. Learning how to developing a team rhythm mixing masonry, mixing concrete, while the Masons laid block, we filled joints. We worked really well as teams and finished ahead of schedule on all three houses.

Our second build day started with the first course that required structural reinforcement via rebar ladders and the start of window openings. By the end of the day whe had the 12th course nearly completed which was full height. Good quality construction and proper support are critical based on the frequency of tremors and earthquake potential.

 The rhythm of Brick Laying complimented our daily routine up at six, breakfast at 6:30, bus to the site at 7, start work at 7:30. Work for 2 hours was short water breaks and then take a group break so that we could work until noon to finish the morning. We bus back to the hotel for lunch some down time during the hottest part of the day and returned at 1:30 to to finish at 4 p.m. this hard work gave everyone a feeling of physical and mental accomplishment.

So how do routine and rhythm combine? In wonderful ways. We've built trust in each other that will keep up the routine and we've fallen into a rhythm of connecting on a personal level with our teammates and local Habitat staff. The stories and relationships we take home will be innumerable and lifelong.

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