Over the past two days, we have begun our first work with the shelter fence! We woke up early in the morning on Friday to get to work, but things slowed a little bit when we had to stop to find fresh water. Once we got there, it was apparent to me and the rest of the team that we had picked a beautiful day to get started! One of the contractors was already there to get started with the demolition, which included ripping out the fence and barbed wire from the wooden posts in the fence.
At a glance, this job didn’t seem to be a challenge, but as we got started it was soon obvious that ripping out a fence was going to be tough work. However, with the help of the GROW team and the contractor we were able to bring down almost all of the barbed wire around the fence as well as much of the fence itself. As we tore down the fence, it became strikingly clear that this fence was in dire need of replacement. The vast majority of it was rusted through, and most of the posts either were rotted through or were home to massive termite nests. The new fence we will be putting in will have much sturdier concrete walls as well as razor wire instead of barbed wire.
After our work with the shelter we met up with Juan to get prices on furnishings for the shelter. We were mostly deciding between beds, tables, an oven, and a refrigerator. All in all, the furnishings will be taking a pretty small amount of our total funding, which when coupled with the cost of the fence, will mean we will have approximately $10,000 of GlobeMed money left over to spend on other aspects of the shelter!
On Friday, we started taking the posts in the fence out of the ground. If the work the day before had been difficult, this was just plain backbreaking. We had to dig out each post and either break the rotted wood from the ground or pull out the post altogether. Without the help of the contractor, we would not have gotten very far at all, but with his expertise and our backs we unearthed several of the monsters.
Later that day, we were visited by a crowd of kids off on a lunch break. We had met them a few days before when we stopped by to see them paint a mural as part of an extracurricular project that outlined the different sides of a woman’s life and her conflict with domestic violence. These kids were 13 years old and already they were tackling one of the biggest social problems in the community! Wow. Even better, they stopped by the shelter to have a look themselves and see if they could help!
These past two days have certainly shown us just how much the community, especially the youth, support this project. At the same time, it has quickly become clear that in terms a construction a significant amount of work remains to be done with shelter. Even so, considering all that we have gotten done in just two days I am really hopeful that the shelter will be finished muy pronto! Though our team accomplished plenty in the past two days and will continue to get a lot of work done in the shelter in the coming week, the most important part of this process for me has been ensuring that construction has begun and will continue to run after we are gone.