Many hands make light work – El Jicarito, Nicaragua

By Casey Callais 7/29/2016 –– Like the old-fashioned Quaker barn raising, it’s been all hands on deck to get this school ready for construction. Aside from the 23-strong Sonoma Valley group, people from three neighboring communities came out to work in solidarity with the good folks of El Jicarito.

The last two weeks have seen an enormous amount of dirt moved and we are almost ready to bring in the filler. That will bring the ground level up to floor height and, thanks to all of these holes we have been digging and refilling, it will be on solid ground.

In the meantime we have been cutting and tying rebar – the big stuff – to prepare the footings for the columns. Thanks to the exacting specifications of Precision Structural Engineering, this school is going to outlast any natural disaster that might befall it. Take a look at the size of the footings and you will see what I mean.

90 year old tying footings for el jicarito

This project is in the early stages but it has been a learning experience for us all. Our foremen, for example, are pros at laying out traditional block and cement classrooms with stakes and string but now are learning to read engineering plans (in English!), measure for curved walls and understand that a few inches off now would result in serious problems down the road. The El Jicarito community has learned that there are people all the way from the United States that are concerned with their childrens’ quality of education. So much so that some have traveled all the way down to work side by side with them.

Photo album of Sonoma Valley’s Nicaragua experience

We will be posting regular updates about the project as construction continues. In the meantime we are offering an amazing deal for people who are interested in this project. Donate to help buy whiteboards, desks, computers, etc. and receive Knitknot’s architectural plans, Precision Structural Engineering’s structural design (compliant with the 2012 International Building Code), Seeds of Learning’s complete construction report AND a 2-hour phone call with the Seeds of Learning team. This is ideal for anyone who is interested in building their own superadobe project and the money goes to cover school supplies and resources.


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