Traditional cement mixing methods taught to American students
A group of ambitious and charitable high school students from New Jersey spent part of their summer in Honduras building a school. This effort is a part of the Students Helping Honduras (SHH) project that provides these service opportunities for teens in the eastern US.
SHH has now raised more than $1 million through bake sales, car washes and small donations to benefit partnering orphanages, schools and communities in Honduras. This is a wonderful opportunity for these young people to participate in international development and to witness how poverty impacts others.
The students dig ditches and pour concrete slabs for buildings. They get to experience how difficult construction is without the benefit of the infrastructure that we enjoy in the US.
We have selected a couple of images from one of the summer projects in Honduras. Here we see the bags of cement, the shovels, the buckets and the teens surrounding or standing in the concrete mixing area.
If you consider that from this “traditional” mixing effort a large slab of concrete is produced, then you have to be impressed. It is amazing to witness what can be accomplished with a group of determined individuals and some simple tools.
CementTrust is concerned however with what we are teaching when we build in these countries. The New Jersey teens learn lessons that should last them a lifetime. We hope that they come home with a renewed gratitude for what they have been blessed with. Their attitude toward those who are less fortunate will be different because they have learned how hard life is for some people.
For the people served in Honduras, they have learned that Americans can mix concrete on the ground just like they do…. But did they get a better and safer school because the high school kids came down and helped?
What would happen if we taught what we practice here in US construction? Would they get more sustainable buildings and greater safety?
CementTrust realizes that there is a great deal of good accomplished with these efforts. We know that many lives are changed and terrific lessons are learned. But these same teens could have used the cement, shovels and buckets to feed some sort of mixer that could have insured the type of concrete that would be acceptable for our own school buildings. We all know that they don’t build schools using traditional Honduran methods in New Jersey.
Until we break with “tradition” we might only be teaching a one-sided lesson.