Many find it gratifying to join a group of volunteers in a “building-mission” to assist the poor to rebuild their homes. Their heart is in the right place as they express their love for their fellow-man through these kind acts of service.
When they arrive at the designated construction site, they find opportunities to grab a shovel and a bucket and to join in the traditional process of mixing concrete on the ground. Working and sweating side by side with the disadvantaged the volunteers create some great memories, but are they building a safe home?
The engineers at Georgia Tech completed a survey of concrete strength at several of these shovel mixing sites. What they discovered should give volunteers pause, as they learn that the concrete can be very weak. Unless carefully measured and correctly blended the concrete should be reason to be concerned.
There are currently hundreds of volunteers in dozens of countries around the world putting their backs and their time into an action that has proven to be a problem in good construction practice. Mixing cement on the ground was replaced by proper equipment about 100-years ago in the States.
While we respect the good work of the people who travel around the world to join in these construction projects, we plead with the organizers to find a way to get the shovels off the ground and the proper tools working on these projects.
Let’s change the labor of love from shovels and buckets to mixers and wheelbarrows.