Hey y’all! This is Hannah again! We’re a little over halfway through the project and things are starting to fall into place. I’m elated to announce that we finished our distribution station walls today!
Constructing the Fortress
We woke up at the crack of dawn this morning to beat the Thai sun. Patrick, Eby, Rachel, Sarah and I headed out to the distribution station to QC our work from yesterday. Our contractor Narong and his wife Tian (shee-an) showed up early to help us get started on our walls. Tian took a quick look at the work we had done so far and then went home to eat breakfast and retrieve her tools. When she returned, we got to work mixing up mortar and putting up walls. Tian showed us how to mortar our external mortar joints and how to use a wire reinforcement in addition to our vertical rebar. Basically, Tian is a badass lady. She and her husband Narong built Khem’s and Chalao’s houses and parts of the church. She wields a trowel like a weapon and she stacks courses like nobody’s business. She has all kinds of tips and tricks to laying brick, setting mortar and building walls. At one point, we found a scorpion in one of the holes in the wall and she squished it with the brick she was holding without blinking an eye. As a female engineer, I have so much respect for a builder like her and we can’t thank her enough for all of her help today. Although Kan, Mook and Dream did an excellent job translating, Tian and I had quite a few interesting conversations in a mashup of English, Thai, grunts and gestures. The language barrier was pretty significant, but we still managed to communicate well enough to construct the remaining four courses of the distribution station today. It looks pretty great if I do say so myself.
Water runs deep
Wichan came today and we helped him connect all the elements in the treatment system. We got the system up and working with no leaks so far. We took some samples to get tested in the morning. Khem gave Patrick and Ryan a ride over to the filtration station on the back of his bike.
Another group made a store run to get some more materials and joints to connect our pipes within the station. They also came back with some different flavors of Thai chips and some cake to celebrate our progress today!
I would like to thank the academy
Today was an incredibly proud moment for me. As head of the structures team, it was really cool to sit back at the end of the day and see our roof and distribution station standing up on their own. It’s an amazing feeling to have built something with our own hands that was nothing more than a concept about 5 months ago. The amount of patience that bricklaying requires is pretty incredible, but the team buckled down until all the pieces fit together. Special thanks to David for helping with the design of the distribution station and for keeping us grounded when we get stressed. Thanks also to Kan, Mook and Dream for translating all the things Tian was telling us and asking her the million questions we had for her. Finally, I want to thank my team. This team worked their butts off, laying and relaying blocks until they were level on about 27 different axes. Even though it was hot and tiring and frustrating, we never gave up and we made something pretty incredible. Not only today, but overall it’s really amazing what we have managed to accomplish on this trip. In just a few short weeks we have laid trenches, poured sinks out of concrete despite the overwhelming opinion that we should just buy sinks, figured out countless problems with the well, and put up the most beautiful 6 brick-and-mortar walls I have ever seen in my entire life (I may be a little biased). These 8 people are some of the most hardworking, dedicated, overcommitted, crazy, hilarious, uplifting, inspiring and brilliant people I have ever met in my life, and I hope that our friendships will last long after this project is over. I love y'all. <3
Doggos of Don Kang
At the end of this blog post, I wanted to do something a little different. Like most college students who only interact with animals on a semi-regular basis, our team is a little obsessed with doggos. I wanted to highlight all of our new furry little friends that we have met in Don Kang thus far.
Bud-bud ( Buddy)
"I am the ring leader around these parts. I am the toughest dog in Don Kang. The other doggos are only around to do my bidding. Don’t come close to my turf unless you want to get run out of town. The people like to ride their little vroom vrooms in from the sugar cane fields, but I always make sure to put them back in their place… any place but mine. "
"Bam-bam and I used to get along. We used to play together and be best friends. One hot afternoon it was getting a little hot outside and momma left the door open. I tried to go inside and look for her (and also to feel the magical fans they keep behind the people doors). Then bam-bam started freaking out and she bit me! I didn’t even do anything wrong! Anyway, then she didn’t want to be my friend after that and now I mostly just hang out in all the cool forts the humans build for me. They appreciate me a lot more than my EX-best friend ever did… "
"One time Tao tried to get in the house which is most certainly NOT allowed. I told her that Momma wouldn’t want her to be in there. When she didn’t get the message the first time, I had to give her a little nibble so Momma wouldn’t be mad. Tao doesn’t really like to play with me anymore. I miss my friend a lot, but she shouldn’t have tried to go in there."
"I like to keep under the radar. Most of the youngin’s are always yapping on about how other dogs are trying to steal their land, but I’m not worried. I think we should all share the land and eat sausages together. No one seems to listen to me though."
"I can do almost anything I want. My favorite activity is marking my territory. I mark all the trees, blocks, rocks, and piles of sand I see. If it’s on the church property, there is a good chance I have peed on it. I pretty much own this place. The dumb humans always leave the doors open, so I like to trick them and go in there when they are not looking. It usually works too. Dumb humans."
That's all for today!