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A Busy Summer in Hato Rincon

A Busy Summer in Hato Rincon

Summer of 2019 was a productive one for the EWB Panama team and their partner community Hato Rincon! The team spent a total of four weeks in Hato Rincon, from June 15-July 15, sending down four groups that totaled 22 student and professional volunteers over that time. Our volunteers kicked off week one with a community meeting to introduce themselves and discuss the plans and goals for the next few weeks.

Progress on the community center at the end of week 1- CMU, glass block, and column work (view from rear of building)

We are working with Hato Rincon to build a library and community center that will house books and laptops for use by community members. As of the last trip in the summer of 2018, construction had been partially completed on the building walls. In the first week, a lot of progress was made continuing construction on the walls by placing concrete masonry units (CMUs), placing glass blocks as windows, and pouring concrete to form columns, window headers, and lintels. 

The second team came in ready to continue the great work started by our first team. They began by finishing the east wall of the building and pouring concrete to form and place more columns, headers, and lintels. Additionally, they prepared for pouring the top beam of the building by leveling the wall and building scaffolding. 

The third team carried the momentum and finished laying all CMUs and pouring columns on the north and south walls. They also continued the important task of pouring the top beam. This included bending and cutting rebar, building wooden forms, and pouring concrete. Additionally, they prepared materials for our final teams to be able to erect trusses. In step with the construction work, Team three made sure to take time to discuss future rules and guidelines for use of the library. This is an important step to take before completion of the project, as it will be vital to continued fair use of the library and its resources for years to come.

Progress on community center in the middle of week 4

Finally, the fourth and last team finished off the trip strong. They put in the effort every day to ensure all major tasks were completed by the time they left. This included finishing pouring any columns, completing all work on the top beam, and building and erecting all five trusses. In addition to the work done during these four weeks, several community members continued this great work while our project partner from Health Empowering Humanity stayed in the community for another week. They were able to complete several more tasks including installing the roof deck.

Thanks to the hard work of our 22 volunteers and countless Hato Rincon community members, this trip was a huge success. We were able to complete most of the structure of the community center, leaving us in a great position to finish up construction and begin working on powering the building in our next trip. We are so grateful to the wonderful people of Hato Rincon for welcoming us into their community and supporting this project every step of the way. We are looking forward to completion so the town can start putting their community center to work!