This week on construction was my first time fully completing a water tank project from start to finish. It turns out it’s a lot of work, but definitely worth it!
We started a couple days ago with the menial task of picking up gravel from the beach. Although slightly slow and repetitive I have to say that sitting on a beach in Fiji is not the worst thing to do while volunteering. With ten bags full of beach gravel we began the real work on the base. First the area had to be set for where the location of the base would be. One was chosen close to the church in Naisisili that would allow an easy downpipe hook up to some guttering we had put up earlier in the week. We marked the area and began to dig the ground down in order to level it out. While this was going on Tevita, a local from Naisisili and GVI staff, and I put together a 7x7 wooden frame. This frame was then placed on top of black plastic on the level ground the other volunteers had been working on. It would later be used to hold the cement we would mix to create the base which the water tank would stand on. The next step was placing rebar in a grid position on top of the black plastic and inside the wooden frame. Bigger rocks were then placed on the rebar to hold down the support and ready the area for the concrete.
We began to mix the concrete by adding cement, water, sand, and gravel. While doing this many of the local men came to help and participate in making the water tank base. It was so good to work alongside the people who will be benefitting from the work we put in today in the long run. Getting to know the people and the culture of Fiji has really put a face to the work GVI and many other organisations do around the world. It makes a personal connection to the struggles and beauty that encompass third world countries and the people that come together to try and improve certain situations. We worked with the men for two hours mixing and creating the cement for the tank base. When it was complete and leveled we were invited to a nearby house for tea and pastries. It was so great, after a long days work, to sit with everyone who had worked so closely together, to relax and enjoy each others company with a community who was so happy to have a new and sustainable piece of equipment.
Hayley Marshall – Community Project Scholar