This blog post was guest written by Habitat Wake volunteer, Steven Worrell.
Today was our first full day of construction. We are staying in downtown Buenos Aires and have an hour bus ride to the construction site. Being good Habitat volunteers we didn’t want to waste that hour so we are using it for our daily reflection time. This morning a volunteer from the technology industry led us in an “engineering standup” session. We each had to give a W-T-O; What did you do yesterday, what are you going to do Today and what Obstacles do you have. Very interesting.
Our tasks for the day where pretty much as yesterday: dig and move dirt to fill the floor up to the top of the foundation, mix concrete (thanks heavens they have a power mixer), and lay bricks. One new thing today was that we used the concrete to pour floors instead of fill columns.
Habitat Argentina has a slightly different building program than we do in the US. Because of Argentinian law, Habitat can’t be the builder for the homeowner. The homeowner has to be the builder and Habitat assists them. Before someone can qualify for the program, they must buy the land for their home. Because of this the homeowner is much more involved in the building of their home. For example, the mason on our house is the husband’s father. A second difference is that Habitat plans are for a “seed house”. These are houses with a living area, a bedroom, kitchen and bath. However, they are designed to add two more bedrooms. The foundation for the additional bedrooms is poured when the house is originally built. By doing this, it makes the initial cost lower for the home owner.
We had a very productive day with people rotating from job to job so everyone could experience each job. We finished up the fill dirt so no more digging and hauling dirt. We completed the initial rows of brick on 3 of the exterior walls. We finished about 75% of the floor in one room.
After lunch, we took a short walk to see a completed seed home in the neighborhood. We were all impressed with what the finished house looked like. You could easily see the homeowners touch in how the home was finished. She is looking forward to starting the addition next year.
We were a pretty tired group as we loaded up the bus for our ride back to the hotel. Even through we were tired, there was a steady buzz of conversation as we returned.
We will be going to a Spanish restaurant for dinner tonight.