Excavation, excavation, excavation! The first ever LWH bulldozer was hard at work Thursday moving dirt and cutting into the slope so that our building crew can focus on BUILDING A SCHOOL.  It was a happy day.  Hand excavation has an appropriate time and place, as does calling in machinery – we were thrilled to be able to choose the right tool for the job at hand.  The area for the next vocational workshops is now cleared and ready for foundation, and a small platform at the upper level was cleared out to produce enough dirt to continue with the retaining wall.  Eventually the entire upper terrace will be excavated at this same level to create the platform for the primary school classrooms.

Additionally, a project sign was painted and installed at the site entrance.  It is written in spanish and shows a basic plan view of the school, highlighting the recycled materials that will be utilized.  The sign has already received a lot of positive feedback and we hope it continues to foster an inclusive and collaborative relationship between us and the community.  It reads: ¨Welcome! We are building a school for the benefit of the community, please help us keep this site safe.  You´re welcome to take a closer look and ask us questions.  Thank you!¨

Progress continues on the retaining wall buttress.  After the main portion of the buttress was completed we decided to expand the buttress´ width to better support the wall above.  We now have a surplus of truck tires and moist dirt just waiting to be packed.  The plan is to build the entire upper retaining wall before starting the classrooms to ensure the terrain is properly stabilized before the rainy season begins in May.  While the tire retaining walls are the somewhat unglamorous part of the school design they are extremely vital – in short, without the retaining walls there would be no classrooms.  However, while the retaining wall is going up we will also be building the first earth-bag domed structure, the Art building.  The structure will be slightly smaller than the classrooms of the same material so it will give us a chance to become comfortable with the dome system on a smaller scale.

The stucco finishes are also moving along nicely and the door fabricator will be measuring for metal doors this week.  We are close to an enclosed and secure room.  After the doors we only have to complete the glass brick facade.  Bottle collection has kicked into high gear and we are finalizing the design and starting production of the glass bricks.  Stay tuned to see this decorative wall take shape!

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