We had the chance to help the community “pour” concrete. It took most of the day with about 50 people involved.
In preparation the whole week before, the community masons had engineered an amazing network of concrete forms that would become a new porch roof for the school’s new Admin Building. The whole thing consisted of 3-5 inch in diameter logs holding up the forms (made of planks), wood beams, sand, and a plastic membrane. The forms where then filled with an intricate lattice of metal rebar tightly tied together to create the skeleton.
By my estimation it took 120 75lb bags of sand, 240 75lb bags of gravel rocks, 60 75lb bags of cement. We had a crew of 10 people filling the bags of sand & gravel, and then we carried them 20 yards on our backs to the piles that they would then be mixed in. The sand, cement, gravel were all put in a pile and mixed with water on the ground. There were always at least two piles being mixed at a time, with about 5-10 people helping mix. The mixing was done with hoes and shovels. After the concrete was mixed it was put in buckets (repurposed cooking oil cans from the community kitchen) and passed down a line and up to the roof, where it was then poured into the forms.
It was a long, tiring process but everyone was smiling, singing and having a good time.