We've had a productive week in Eleuthera! We've officially begun pouring concrete on the basketball court which means we're nearing the end! Simultaneously, the front of the center has now been painted which was the last wall to be done. From here, we're just working on touch-ups! For those of you interested in the steps that we've been working on for the basketball court, we decided to outline it:
-First we marked the area and built the outer walls of the court. This required precise measuring and using a circular saw to cut the boards.
-From there, we had a team of four-five mixing concrete. The recipe for concrete involves shoveling sand and rock into buckets to dump into the mix. From there, we add the concrete and water. Until this week, we only had enough space to mix 1 batch of concrete at a time.
-Part of the outer walls were filled with concrete and we would "tabby" the concrete with rocks from in the surrounding area. The other part of the outer walls were measured to fit two layers of cinder block. Once the first layer of cinder block went on, we would "butter" the second block to attach it. This too had to be done with accuracy because cinder block has to be staggered to strengthen the wall. This was done on all the walls.
-Then, we built pillars on the edges of the walls and in the center to create the level we'd eventually pour the court to. This required the use of a level several times since the land we're working on was sloped. We filled the pillars with concrete as well as the cinder block with concrete and rock.
-The next process involved shoveling a ton of fill into buckets and dumping fill into the inner court area. Several students at the same time would go collect rocks to tabby the fill. The fill took what seemed like a while since we were raising the ground up several inches before we were ready to pour.
-The process we're currently in requires a little more fill, measuring the wire we place on top and then mixing/pouring the concrete. We separated the court into sections of 3 and as of today, 2 of the 3 sections have been poured!
By the beginning of this week, we'll have hoped to fill the last section and have a ribbon cutting ceremony with the students.
On the school end of things, it's been so fun to see continued progress with the students from the Exceptional Learners School. We could go on and on about every student at the school. Joshua ensures that he hugs everyone of us at the start and end of the day. He spends his recess time encouraging us and will always say "you work so hard" as he grabs a shovel to help us. Robin loves her friends so well and will bring Melanie's wheelchair down so Melanie can enjoy being outside and watch us work on the court. We will all miss Macknel's joyful laugh as he chases us around the playground. Josie is in love with basketball and chomping at the bits to get to play on the court. We have fallen in love with all of the students and they will be missed so much. As we have looked at the calendar for the next few days, our students have been willing to sacrifice any free time to make sure the court is finished!