A Strong Foundation


“Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.” – Matthew 7:24-27

WOW! I am busy now! The building process is moving SO quickly! I have been busy going to the site, making sure everything is going as it should and ordering and delivering materials- sand, ballast (rock), cement, stones, reinforcement bars, and many other building supplies. I usually leave the apartment around 7 in the morning and do not make it back until 7 in the evening 6 days a week. So, Sunday’s are now spent relaxing and playing with the family, catching up on other work, and going to church online.

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Ordering 9″ X 9″ stones at the quarry

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9″ x 9″ stones

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Counting and measuring stones on-site

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Ballast (rock) being delivered for making concrete

When our contractor dug the first trench for the building, we realized we needed to make an adjustment to our building plan. The problem is our soil is so good for planting vegetables that it isn’t good for a simple building foundation. The hard rock that one would usually build a solid foundation upon is about 30 feet below the surface. So, we needed to change how we were going to build our foundation and make our own “rock” to put the foundation on. The great thing is the guy who is in-charge of the block machine in Embu County is also a structural engineer. Jason Abuga created a fantastic foundation plan for us!

We began by creating 22 4′ x 4′ column bases, 22 columns, and a ground beam. This structure will act like your dining room table. The columns will have a slab on top that will be like your table top with legs underneath. This will now hold the complete weight of the building above.

Bending reinforcement bars for the foundation structure

Bending reinforcement bars for the foundation structure

Column bases

Column bases

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Ground strips between the column bases

Trenches ready to receive column bases and ground strips

Trenches ready to receive column bases and ground strips

Reinforcement in place ready for concrete mixture

Reinforcement in place ready for concrete mixture

Concrete being poured for the column bases and ground strips. It it then vibrated to make sure it settles well without any air pockets

Concrete being poured for the column bases and ground strips. It it then vibrated to make sure it settles well without any air pockets

We are also placing 9″ x 9″ stones between the columns for even more support.

Foundation walling between columns

Foundation walling between columns

 

Foundation walling between columns

Foundation walling between columns

The walling was finished yesterday and concrete forms were placed on all sides of the column reinforcement bars so that concrete can be poured into these forms on Monday.Tuesday, we will begin back-filling all of the empty space between the foundation walls and columns. Then everything will be compacted and ready to pour a foundation slab on Saturday!!! YAY!!

Meanwhile, we have also been building an outside toilet/latrine call a “choo” (pronounced: cho) and a water tank the we can use for drawing water to make concrete. The water coming from the hosepipe is not fast enough to keep up with how quickly our fundis are making concrete. So we needed a tank to fill with water during the night so that we would have plenty of water for construction the next day.

Look at those beautiful walls for our choo

Look at those beautiful walls for our choo

Made from our inter-locking blocks

Made from our inter-locking blocks

Water tank for construction purposes

5000 liter water tank for construction purposes

However, we could really use your prayers right now. The machine we have been using for the last couple of months to make our inter-locking blocks has a problem. The machine has some kind of vibration when the blocks are being removed from the machine. When the machine vibrates this way the newly formed blocks have cracks and cannot be used. We have had 3 different mechanics and engineers come to the site to attempt to fix the problem and they have been unsuccessful. We are now praying that we will be able to get a different machine on Monday so that we can continue to make blocks. Currently, we have about 7,000 blocks ready for building the walls. The problem is we need about 12,000 blocks just to complete the ground floor walls. Even if we got a working machine by Monday and could make the necessary 5,000 remaining blocks, those blocks will still need to cure for 14-21 days before they can be used for construction. So unfortunately, we will be on hold for a short time while we wait for those blocks to be ready. But the longer we wait for the machine to be ready, the longer we will have to wait to continue constructing the building. So, please pray for us to have a good working machine as soon as possible so that we can keep going.