As you may have read in my previous post, I am currently working as a volunteer on a construction site, building a house for poor people.

After almost 3 weeks on the construction site, my two volunteer fellows and I have built up quite some knowledge about how to mix concrete, and pour the concrete between the sheeting using some half broken buckets.

First thing to do is to mix 6 wheelbarrows of sand with 4 bags of cement. We do this by shoveling the entire pile of sand and concrete to a different spot, 3 times.

After that, we form an oval bed, and add 5 wheelbarrows of gravel on top on this bed. Then we add water and let it sink in a bit. To prevent the water from spilling out, we form a trench surrounding the concrete bed.

And now the real fun begins. Using a hoe (hopefully this is the right term, but please check out the pictures), we start mixing the concrete, constantly adding a bit of water. We then fill the mixed concrete into buckets, carry it over where it is needed, and pour it between the sheeting. It then needs to be carefully leveled out on top of the concrete wall.

We did this yesterday the whole morning, just the three of us, while the two Guatemalan builders were setting up new sheeting. After four hours of this work, every single bit of our bodies ached. I think it is hard work in general, but a lot of things could be better on this construction site. For example, they cut the shaft of their tools to fit Guatemalan needs. All of us 3 volunteers are way taller than they are, and that’s a fact which our backs really don’t like that much. Well, that’s not their fault to be fair. What I find more annoying: The buckets that we use to carry this heavy concrete have broken handles. Doesn’t make it easier. Also, 3 shovels for 3 volunteers would be really nice. Well, we take turns, which gave me the opportunity to take the pictures of this post. I was working too! 😉

Today was not any easier, we were moving bricks from one end to the construction site to the other, and moved soil inside the walls we built the days before. Using shovels of course, no machinery. Now the weekend finally arrived, and we are so grateful for that. I am finally going to explore Tikal, and I hope to write about that next week some time. Stay tuned!

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