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Saturday, 2 July 2016

Blood Sweat and Concrete

Today the work truly began for the team in Vietnam; this was the day that our project began. After an abrupt awakening from the rooster just outside our door, which decided to start to “cock-a-doodle-do” at exactly 5am.  We began to dress with a long day ahead of us. After breakfast we made our way by either bike or a van that had the horsepower of a lawnmower and bounced up and down like there was no tomorrow. Needless to say we arrived at the project safely and were ready for the day’s work. The project would take place at a small school (Kindergarten), which required concrete  on the ground outside their building and a playground for the children who were aged around 2-4. The first section of work was simply flattening the ground for the concrete to be laid, simply meaning we placed new sand on the ground and flattened it with matics and any piece of spare wood lying around.
The second section of work began to lay the concrete down. This involved 3 hours of bringing buckets of sand and stone to the mixer, some carrying the buckets in twos and some carrying them on their heads (local stylie). We worked along the local Vietnamese men and women, who while we worked in our gear and trainers or boots, most of them did it bare foot and maintained their work for three hours despite us needing multiple rests and water breaks. The final product of our long and gruelling work was concrete where it needed to be and sixteen proud seventeen year olds (Ed. Lets not forget the proud forty something’s too) who could look on at the product they had worked so hard to get. Straight after a long three hours of repetitive work, the leaders (Ed. That’s me Cliff ) decided it would also be an amazing opportunity to do our twenty-two push-up challenge where we do 22 push ups in 22 days to raise awareness of the levels of suicide within ex-servicemen. (Ed. I will endeavour to post one of these videos on the blog)

The final event of the night took place before dinner, when within an instant the weather turned from the usually ‘comfortably humid night’, to a howling thunder-storm. Bolts of lightning filled the sky and rain poured down which, while we were having dinner, cut out the power to our home-stay, making it increasingly harder to post this blog (Ed. It’s now morning). The fans no longer provided us with cool air so, some of us sat out and watched the lightening, which I’m sure most of your sons will show you through video. One of the rooms we were staying in had an ocean running under the doors which soon filled the room the boys were lying in…Something told us this was a regular occurrence!
Overall it was an interesting day in the trip, the guys worked hard to produce work they can be extremely proud of and it was our first experience of the “rainy season” in Vietnam. We are now off to bed with a feeling of satisfaction in our hearts.

Patrick D’Arcy 

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