The sixth and final week of implementation in Rubaya came by in no time, at least for us – the EWB members sitting here in NY. For the six travelling members, it certainly has been a whirlwind as not only did they cross several time zones, they worked and dedicated themselves for two weeks in an immensely different work environment and had to get back to their jobs in NY right after. This probably has been exhausting for them but I am positive that each one of them has gained an experience they will cherish forever.
Now, before we see the final structure from the implementation trip, it is important for all of us to get an understanding of what happened during the final week which started with erecting the three trusses as shown below.
Evram and Alex started off the fifth week of implementation in Rubaya and their first week of adjusting to a new lifestyle. Getting used to Rubayan lifestyle was expected to be difficult but for team 3 it was not only about getting on board with new living standards quick, they also had to get working right away and pick up on everything that had been going on for over 4 weeks by now.
Our travelling team got to work and interact with a lot of cool Rubayans; they interviewed a few of them for us to get to know better. This post will highlight two people in particular, Dusttimimana Aimable and Orienne Nikuze.
At the crux of this project’s success will be how well Goodneighbors members are able to run the co-op and get a net positive turnover from the added facility. For that reason, Team 2 met with Emmanuel, the co-op president, other GN committee members, and some community members for further discussion about the purpose of the storage facility and other pending issues during construction. This discussion was organized to first align each members’ goals with the rest of Goodneighbors and then with EWB-Rubaya team’s goals to ensure that everyone is on the same page. May and Ethan asked thoughtful questions to gain insight from GN members on their hopes and aspirations from the project and potential future projects that EWB-NY can possibly help with.
Being an EWB Volunteer in any country is a unique experience that cannot be mimicked with any amount of careful planning. One such experience for our team was to celebrate International Women’s Day with the Rubayan community. The community members gathered in Rubaya’s main field where the Rubayan women celebrated with traditional dance and music. The event was also attended by the mayor who delivered a speech addressing the community members and especially the women of Rubaya.
During the second week of construction, the team poured all column and strip footings, built formwork for column lifts and set up scaffolding. From the technical end, everything is going as scheduled and the team has been doing a terrific job of problem solving across a Whatsapp group. A lot of it has been possible because of Mira and Patrick’s ability to address problems on the site like material delivery issues and misinterpretation of CMU block design. In addition, the efforts of team members here in NY to provide structural consulting and design specs to the travelling members as they run into cement mix and other questions has been vital for construction to proceed.
Feature Photo: Finished footing (left) and start of scaffolding (right)
Our work in the community would be physically impossible were it not for our smart, resourceful, and hard-working interns, Parfait and Hervé. Get to know them a little better:
Feature Photo: Parfait (left) and Hervé (right) on the construction site
Our in-country support system has been incredible. While the community members are helping by being the labor force on site, the students from ULK Polytechnic Institute are helping bridge the communication gap between the community and EWB team. Both our team members, Mira and Patrick have found them enthusiastic and eager to learn as well as extremely helpful with transfer of technical knowledge between EWB members and the community.
Feature Photo: Interns clicking selfies with the community kids
From New York’s cold temperatures of around 40s Rubaya 1 crossed over to summer with temperatures in the 80s. The two traveling members, Mira and Patrick have made great progress since their arrival in Rwanda. Also, they have truly lived up to the essence of Engineers Week, which coincidentally aligned with the project’s first week of implementation.
On their arrival they had a successful meeting with in-country contacts – Bonaventure, Gilbert and Emmanuel. With their help, the EWB members procured materials from quincaillerie, i.e. the hardware store and finally completed the last leg of their journey to Rubaya.
There are some cool pictures on the flip side to show how the team has been getting closer to the storage facility each day, so click below and explore: