Friday, August 30, 2013

Pile Progress - 50% complete (193 of 378)

We reached the halfway point today on pile work. The structural consultant was also able to make a site visit to review the pile work completed to date.  He was happy with the work and the progress that has been made. The weather continues to be good despite being the ongoing monsoon season, which has been greatly helping progress. We have only lost three half days of work due to heavy rain since starting piles last month.

(The pile crews work 7 days a week and roughly 12 hours per day)

(Pile crews take a 30 minute break for Friday afternoon prayers)

(Checking pile centering with the Structural Consultant)

(Checking the reinforcing cages with the Structural Consultant)

(SAFE - SLAB  structural design modelling software)

(Pile Progress - pink columns are completed as of Aug 30th)

(Contractor and Pile Crew Safety Briefing - Holly may be  somewhat gender outnumbered on site. I have not seen a female construction worker/contractor/engineer on site in Bangladesh, especially in this area)


Thursday, August 29, 2013

2013 Girls Football (Soccer) Tournament

The 2nd annual girls football  (soccer) tournament was happening at the MCH field when I returned to Malumghat.  From my understanding, it was scheduled by the government based on a UN program/initiative for girls in sports.  I was able to catch the final game between our MCH high school girls and the Dulahazara (nearby town) team.  Their principal told me afterwards that the girls had improved and that this year they knew how to run with the ball.  Most of the girls had never played before the game last year.  I am hoping that another game can be organized in October.

 MCH in Blue Jerseys

Bare Feet and Mud Puddles

Spectators from the High Schools

 The match ended in a tie and went to a penalty shoot out. 

The girls celebrating a come back after being behind in the penalty kicks. 

Another shooter was added for both sides and in the end the game went to Dulahazara.

 High Pressure (the crowd around our goalie was intense)!

 2013 MCH High School Girls Football Team


Thursday, August 22, 2013


I had a great three week visit at home in PEI.  As vacations usually go, time went by way too fast.  I spent most of my days with family and friends enjoying the PEI summer; beaches, pools, water park, golfing, badminton, soccer, baby cows, lambs, Victoria by the sea, eating chocolate, and simply hanging out and catching up.


  PEI South Shore

That's my father-in-law Bob Barrett doing a back flip of a diving board in the photo above!

I looked through old photos and documents with Grammie including her birth certificate and a well written newspaper article authored by my 26 year old grandfather about agricultural business.

Brent and Mary Currie (I see some resemblance to my sister here)

    Brent and his chickens                                                                         1918? Young Brent on the right                     

I spent other time with a number of speaking engagements, appointments and shopping for items to bring back to Bangladesh. After three short weeks I was sad to say goodbye!  I hope to see some of you here in Bangladesh :)

I took advantage of the opportunity for two long layovers during my return home.  The first was in New York City.  Travel time was a little long to get into the city, but I was set on a bike ride in Central Park and it was well worth it!  It was nice to get outside and exercise and finally see the famous park.

After an overnight flight I arrived early in Amsterdam.  After a quick 20 minute train ride I was at central station, the perfect place to start a walk around the city.

Since I had an early arrival,  I got in line to enter the Anne Frank Museum about an hour before it opened (when I exited, the line wrapped around the block! fyi - you can also book ahead).  It was a very interesting and sad to be in the actual place where her story unfolded.  I then headed to the flower market and picked up some orange tree, kiwi, and strawberry seeds for pots.....I hope they will grow here.

                                                                                       Secret bookcase entrance              Flower Market
                                                                                            to the hiding place

Next stop was Dubai where I met Jon which you have already heard about.  Unfortunately one of my 50 lb bags did not make it.  It did eventually turn up and we finally received it yesterday evening (6 days later). The 11 lbs of cheese and bags of chocolate where still there, though a little worse for wear.  There was also a photocopy of some random man's British passport.  Perhaps he picked up my bag by accident.........?  I am happy to have it back!

Monday, August 19, 2013


Holly and I had a fun time in Dubai. It is such a clean and developed city that I had a big initial shock when I arrived, but was quickly able to adapt. All the small simple things that we never really think of such as consistent power, readily available air conditioning, smooth roads, easy transport, mainly good english, clean streets, working signal lights on the roads, relatively quiet, supermarkets with any products you could ever want, clean tap water, 4G internet, etc. Although with these benefits I also quickly felt the difference in the cost of living.  A metro ride for 10 minutes is how much a 4-5 hour bus ride would cost in Bangladesh.

We had a fun time exploring the city and many of its incredible engineering feats, such as the tallest building in the world and the huge man made Islands.

Burj Khalifa, Tallest Building in the world

Burj Al Arab, 6 Star Hotel (unfortunately we did not stay - $1,500 plus per night)

Dubai Skyline

Dubai Mall (with large aquarium). Largest mall and entertainment centre in the world it claims.

Very modern and fast highway systems

We also had the opportunity to try Ski Dubai. I was initially hesitant to try as our time was short, but once I did it was actually incredibly fun.  The change from about +45C outside to -5C inside was drastic, but extremely refreshing.  Now I can say I had at least a few hours of winter fun this year.  The hill conditions were great with nice soft snow and not to many other skiers going down the slopes. I would say the hill is very similar to Brookvale Ski Park (roughly 400m hill). We were able to ski for a while go out to warm up and switch up to snowboarding for the remainder of our time.

(Jon & Holly Boarding)

(Jon on his skies)

(Holly snowboarding)

(From the Bottom of the Hill - bottom half seen in photo)

A few additional photos uploaded to our web albums


Thursday, August 08, 2013

New Hospital Project - Additional Renderings

We recently had a few additional renderings completed for promotional and fundraising brochures for the project (To View Previous Rendering Click Here). The New Hospital is still a few years away from looking like this, but with piles going into the ground and work proceeding things will quickly come into shape.

(Ground Level view of the New Hospital from the Southeast at dusk)

(Bird's eye view of New Hospital at dusk)

(Ground level view from the Northwest - showing the back of the New Hospital)


Monday, August 05, 2013

Eid Al-Fitr Holidays (87 Piles complete)

Eid Al-Fitr is the holiday that celebrates the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. The month of Ramadan can be a difficult month to keep construction workers motivated as most Muslims fast during daylight hours which includes both drinking and eating. Many don't even allow themselves to swallow their own spit.  On a construction site working hard in the hot sun all day with no water or food means the workers are very short on energy. Despite this we have been able to complete 87 piles over the past two weeks. Now that Ramadan is coming to an end the holiday of Eid Al-Fitr will arrive around the 10th of the month.  For construction workers this is one of two main holidays that they take in a year. It is typical for them to have about two weeks off to go home and be with their families. This short break works well for us so I can attempt to get caught up on paperwork and meet Holly for a few days of personal holiday in Dubai. After the holiday we are anticipating ongoing political Hartals (road strikes) so we have been stockpiling large quantities of materials (stone, sand, cement, steel) on site so work may proceed unhindered.

(Site overview)

(Locating buried pile points)

(Inspecting pile casting)

(Construction site on a rainy day)

(Confirming site numbers)

(Pile crews finishing up their last piles before the holidays)