This week, the menfolk accomplished a task which has had us all praying overtime, because of the significant difficulty and danger involved. We're all grateful and relieved to have the job successfully behind us! The task was the placement of the huge concrete beams onto the bridge supports in El Mongual.
I didn't post about the work that was done to make the supporting walls on each side of the river. Here's a picture of the completed walls, so you can see what was involved:
You can see the trickle of water between the two walls. It's still dry season, so the water is low. At its worst, the water has been known to almost reach the houses you see on the far side of the river, so the bridge had to be built up high enough for those events.
You'll remember the two gigantic beams which the crew fabricated about a month ago. (If you don't remember, check here and here.)
The picture doesn't necessarily make clear the immense size of these beams, but they're 43' long and I'm guessing about 4' tall. Plus, they weigh approximately 20 tons. They're really big.
So, the task of moving those beams down to the river, and lifting them onto the supporting walls really should have involved a crane - but we don't have a crane, or access to a crane. What we have is an elderly front end loader, Allen's ability to manipulate objects using his knowledge of physics, a collection of people who aren't afraid of hard physical labor, a large quantity of testosterone-induced gutsyness, and prayer. Much prayer.
More to come on exactly how this overwhelming and dangerous task was accomplished. Stay tuned . . .