A major event in construction jobs here in Haiti is the “cement pour”, and whether it’s a floor or a roof or a bridge, it’s a big deal and a big day.  The construction workers up at our clinic site in Gatineau have been preparing for the past few weeks to pour the top of the bridge.  The preparation has involved putting up plywood framing, on top of which iron bars are placed and wired together.  The iron is what gives the bridge the strength to be able to handle the load of heavy dump trucks crossing it multiple times a day.  The ironworkers labored for days cutting and placing the iron bars and wiring them together.  Here they were at work on Tuesday, June 7th, before rain interrupted their progress:

Bridge Ironwork

Closeup of iron work

Finishing the ironwork on the bridge

Yesterday, June 14th, was a festive day, as the workers gathered to carry out the cement pour.  Sand, gravel and water were present in sufficient quantity to be mixed with bags of cement in the portable cement mixer the engineer brought to the site.

Pouring the cement top of the bridge, 6/14/11

The mixed concoction was then poured on the ground and scooped into buckets that were handed in a “bucket brigade” onto the bridge.  The cement mixture was then poured between the iron bars, filling in all the empty spaces.  The process required a lot of workers, giving a day of employment to many of our local neighbors.

Bucket brigade of cement

A day of employment for lots of people

The cement was smoothed out, taking care to get it level.  At the end of the day, this is what it looked like:

Poured bridge


Poured bridge at the end of the day, 6/14/11

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