Hey guys, Ryan here and boy do I have quite the day to share with you.
Would you like to hear a story about how three women got the attention of an entire community of children? How about a tale of five men who moved the unmovable? What about a story of how a few engineers created a way of doing things that the world has never seen before? Which story would you choose?
Well, it’s your lucky day! You can hear all of these stories and more in this single blog post about one day in the life and times of PUC Thailand.
Three Women Shock the Town with Engineering Prowess
Every Saturday a group of twenty to thirty kids all come to the Church of the New Covenant (where we are staying & working) to socialize, learn English, learn life lessons, and (most importantly) play football (soccer). They play on tiny goals made of thin, rusty metal (as pictured below). Three members of our team were assigned this afternoon to change just that. These three members, Savannah, Sarah, & Mook (one of the Thai University students on our team), acquired PVC pipe and connections, cut the pipe themselves to match the correct dimensions, and constructed the two new soccer goals by hand. They did all of this in just three hours! As they were constructed the new goals, kids began showing up to watch. Every so often you would see a local kid ride his bike up to watch in amazement as their football playing experience was changing in front of their eyes. The two new goals look great (pictured below by the previously used goals) and we are very excited to see them in action next Saturday morning!
Five Men Move the Unmovable
Our team was faced with a little bit of a predicament. We had two huge storage tanks that needed to go into our caged-in area but there was a giant metal pressure tank in the way (green storage tanks and yellow pressure tanks pictured below post-movement). It was very inaccessible for any sort of vehicle/heavy machinery to get back there and we needed our workout for the day, so we decided to try to move it by hand. Three of us (Nick, Patrick, and I) got into position to get this thing moved quickly because we figured we were strong enough to do it. We all got into position, counted down from three, and pulled like our lives depended on it. We pulled and pulled and strained and strained. We then had no more strength and set the tank down to check our progress on moving it. We had moved it about 5 centimeters. We decided we needed to call in some reinforcements, so we got Khem and his brother-in-law to come help us out. After about 30 minutes of heavy lifting and strategic rolling, we had finally moved the heavy tank out of the way and were able to put the huge storage tanks into their correct position on the slab.
Changing the World One Sink Design at a Time
Our team ran into a problem: The flexible mold we created to cast all of our concrete sinks in had some serious cracking. We had mentioned before how we came upon a solution but the full details of the efforts didn’t come to light until earlier today. So, here is the full tale of the tiled-sink:
We went back and forth for hours debated how to address this problem. Some suggested that we just cut off the sides of the mold and just use the bottom of it. Some suggested coating the inside of the mold with duct tape to cover the cracks. Then, out of the corner of the room, a wise and powerful voice was heard which drowned out the babble. Our fearless professional engineer. David, cast forth an idea that could come to change the world as we know it. He suggested that we line the sides of the mold with kitchen tiles to cover the weak points on the edges. Our team was sent into a frenzy. It is rumored that this frenzy was so intense that nearby wildlife was scared off in a one-mile radius of our site. Once the frenzy died down we began to come around to the idea of using these tiles. Unfortunately, it was already 11 pm by this point. Most of the team went to bed. Two of our team members decided, however, that going to bed without this idea flushed out was not an option. Nick and Eby started to work at getting these tiles ready to be placed in a concrete mold. They ran into a number of problems that required trial and error testing and countless amounts of direction change. At around 1:30 am these two were joined in the trials and tribulations by our very own wise engineering savant, David. Together they then worked until about 5:30 am getting these tiles ready to go for the concrete pouring team in the morning.
Wrap-up of the rest of the events from today:
The kids of the community all came and were led in activities by Savannah, Mook, Dream. Kan, Patrick, and I in the morning. We had a blast and were able to display their very impressive drawings on the church wall (pictured below)
Our distribution station slab steps (needed due to the slab being cast directly on the ground rather than in the ground) are about ready to pour. This work is being done by a local contractor and the picture of the progress below shows why things here take a little bit longer than one might expect (hint, hint: It’s wet season).
Patrick, Nick, Mika, Dream, Kan, and I were able to finish a good amount of the PVC piping connections required to get the water from the well to our treatment system and back (pictured below).
Our team once again ate some magnificent food (including some decadent Pad Sea Ew) prepared by Khem’s wife and extended family.
Tune in tomorrow to see how these sinks turn out and what further tales grace our team here in rural Thailand.
Over and out,