Our project started today. We arrived at the place of the Forward Step Organization at 08:00 am and had a first look at the construction site of the upcoming days. The local workers called fundi already had arrived. They mostly speak Swahili; and we only know a few words, so the first communication trials were quite interesting. Our aim for the day was digging the pit for the foundation and the floor. The foundation shall have a depth of 40cm; the base plate is 20cm deep. So most of us directly started digging. After eight hours, nearly most of the foundation and the floor was digged.
On the second day we continued digging out the building pit for the foundation and the base plate. We measured and marked the position of the strip foundation with ropes to get an idea where the formwork needs to be placed later. Simultaneously we started making the reinforcements for the foundation. Therefore, we combined steel rods with a quadrangular holding frame to create a reinforcement basket. This procedure was repeated for each section of the foundation. After lunch we finished the digging process and together with the fundi we started cutting and placing wood slats for the formwork of the first half of the strip foundation. It was really cool to see where the working habits of the local workers differ and match our approach on the whole project. Last but not least we discussed the battle plan for the next day, where we would start concreting the foundations.
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We started the third day by finishing the reinforcement baskets for foundation and started the reinforcement mats for the two sections, left and right of the middle foundation. Therefore, we cut the steel rods at a length of 4.20 m and measured how dense the mat could be in consideration of the reinforcement available. Afterwards we created the reinforcement mat in a checkerboard formation with 28 cm gaps. We combined the cross sections of the rods with wire so get a stable and movable reinforcement mat.
After the lunchbreak the benzene powered concrete mixer arrived along with a worker to operate it, so that the concreting of the foundations could begin. For the concreting process we teamed up in groups of two to operate the different supply chains for the mixer. Each group was responsible for a different section as gravel-, sand- and water supply, compress and distribute the concrete and feeding the mixer with the ingredients. After a good 2 and a half hour session of concreting we all were completely exhausted but very happy because the foundations were nearly completed, except for the middle foundation due to a lack of materials.
At the beginning of Thursday, we started pulling out the framework of the foundations which were built the day bevor. We were happy to see that the foundations looked very good compressed from the sides and looked quite promising. Right after the fundi began the formwork for the floor plate on the outside of the foundations. Meanwhile a compactor with an operating worker arrived on a motorbike to compress the middle sections of the sandy subsoil. After the soil had been compacted we started with concreting the last foundation in the middle of the construction side. Bevor we could start with concreting the ground floor we decided to add a blinding concrete layer between the subsoil and the floor concrete layer. Therefore, we mixed 3 parts gravel with one part of sand and added very little of cement and water. With that mixture we concreted a 5 cm deep layer of blinding concrete, so that the foundation and the blinding concrete now formed a leveled surface, ready for concreting the floor plate.
Due to a lack of materials such as Sand and Gravel, the fifth day of the Project started a little bit slowly. The Plan was to start the concreting of the floor plate as soon as the needed materials arrive. Until than we worked on different small Projects around the construction side, as the foundation for the Restrooms and the formwork for the in the house remaining tree. Gladly the Materials we needed arrived around 1 pm so we could get started after getting some lunch. For the floor plate we premiered in using a mixture of superplasticizer and retarder to optimize the flow behaviors of the produced concrete. With an improvised wooden slide, attached to the concrete mixer we were able to distribute the concrete. After a good 2 and a half hours the first one-third of the floor plate was finished. Half way into the concreting we got surprised by a small rain shower which meant we needed to cover the edges of our freshly made floor plate to protect it from getting soaking wet. In another 1 and a half our concreting process we managed to finish at least half of the floor plate. Pretty exhausted from the working afford of the whole week we decided to call it a day and finish the rest of the floor plate on Monday.