In the aftermath of the exciting backhoe days we have been faced with the very sobering question: what do we do with all this dirt?  In about a month we will be ready to start the foundation of the next workshops but there is a huge mound of excavated dirt in the way.  We are busy figuring out ways to use and move the dirt, including giving it away for free to people who come to take it away.

The interior finishes, or acabados, are moving along in the workshops.  The West workshop is complete and the East workshop will be complete in about a week, with the Bodega not far behind.   The design for the doors and windows have been finalized and a door fabricator was chosen this week – the doors should be up and lockable within three weeks.

And work resumed on the lower retaining wall, or muro de contencion, which runs along the South edge of the property.  At first the wall work was tricky because it had to connect into the existing wall and go right through the area where we are draining our surface water.  A pipe now runs under the tire wall to help with drainage.  Once the first few courses of the wall were complete we were able to move quicker and pack more tires per day.  The wall will retain a large portion of infill that will be used as the school´s recreation area and Art classroom.  Because the wall will be directly supporting so much weight we are digging it a couple of meters deep.  While this means a lot of hand excavation the wall will be better able to perform as we want it to.  The pace of the wall building will pickup as we continue to add to our work crew.  We plan to have the majority of both walls done by this rainy season.

Other tidbits . . . engineers from the North Texas Engineers without Borders chapter briefly visited the site to give us some feedback and suggestions for future building . . . we are looking into using tuk-tuk tires for the patio columns, the tires will be stacked and poured with concrete in the center so they will mostly fill an aesthetic function, but we really want to have some tires visible after all the finishes have been applied . . . also planning ahead for using dirt bottles for the roofs of the next workshops, we plan to do a mock-up to test the system, and need over a 1,000 dirt bottles, good thing we have no shortage of dirt! . . . still trying to get hooked up into the municipal electricity system . . . hired three more workers . . . put together an information packet for short-term volunteers highlighting the most important aspects of our construction process, essentially what every volunteer should leave Comalapa knowing . . . a group of 9th graders from Guatemala city volunteered for the day – moving dirt, packing tires and seeing a side of guatemala they don´t usually experience . . . last but not least, if you´re not already a fan of the LWH facebook page sign up to stay up to date with design+construction updates on a daily basis, as well as updates on LWH´s many other building and community projects!