Great Expectations

When we left our meeting with the school officials here in Laos last week, the only hint that a new school was about to be constructed was these beams.  We were told that the supplies would be delivered early today and that the members of the local community would dig the trench needed for the foundation footers.

This is another angle of the beams.  The school did not have enough money to continue or complete the project until our team stepped in to help.

This is a former rice shack that is being used  as the 4th grade classroom.  The support beams have termite damage, and there are holes in the back wall big enough for a child to fall through.  The school has outgrown its capacity, and they had to use this shed in order to have enough space.

When we arrived this morning, we were happy to see members of the community  busy digging the trench.  We were so excited that we were off to a great start.

The bricks arrived, and here we all are  unloading them.  More trucks of bricks came later in the afternoon.
The locals have made nine groups – one for each day of our construction project.  That gives us the opportunity to work with many different people.  They are as enthusiastic as we are.

This shows the piles of bricks ready to be used for the start of the foundation.

Team members are learning how we are to lay the bricks for the foundation.

Two layers of brick have been set, and the next step is rebar.

We are getting ready to pour the concrete to enforce the foundation.

We are smoothing down the concrete.  I have actually done this before in Romania, and  I felt like a pro!

We were going to re-enforce the rice shack, but once we got in the building,  we realized it was not safe at all. This shows how much damaged wood we had to remove before reconstruction can begin.

The principal and PTA wanted us to create a playground.  After finding a suitable location, we started developing a plan and measuring out the dimensions.

These are the holes for the beams that will be the jungle gym support.

These are some of the children after we taught them to play the game “Duck, Duck, Goose.”  They are the ones who will benefit from our project.  Aren’t they cute?

Somehow I found time to toss the frisbee around with some children.   When we first tossed the frisbee to them, some of the children ran from it because they didn’t know what it was.