Building Bridges Together

Alberici & Flintco — Connecting Communities

 You can get involved with a tax-deductible contribution: here!

A bridge is something most of us take for granted, but nearly 1 billion people around the world don’t have safe access to critical resources. Bridges to Prosperity constructs pedestrian bridges in rural communities around the world. Their mission is to safely connect people with healthcare, education, and economic opportunities by building bridges that connect communities.

Based on the success of our first Bridges to Prosperity project in 2022, Flintco and Alberici are fielding a combined team to complete our second 2-week build set for February 17-March 2, 2024. Your donation supports the completion of the Matovu Trail Bridge, a 103-meter hybrid suspension bridge that will dramatically improve the lives of a community of 5,538 people!

February 17, 2024

Well, we finally made it. It was a long 48 hours: small plane seats – 8 seats across – 60+ rows of people, screaming babies, and time changes. We were greeted with great smiles even at 9 p.m. Rwanda time as soon as we walked off the plane onto the runway. Little lights surrounded us. The runway was on top of the highest hill. It looked as if we were looking down on stars. After getting through customs, we loaded down 3 cars with 25+ bags. Our drivers stuffed bags in every available inch including the roof! After traveling over 10,000 miles we couldn’t bear the idea of the bags flying off the roof as we drove to the hotel. (None did.) We were warned in our prep meetings about the busy roads, but still couldn’t believe it when I saw it with my own eyes. Cars stacked next to each other, coming from every direction. Then every available 3 feet between cars became a makeshift motorcycle lane. Motorcycles whizzed by and before you knew it, 3 more passed. Rwanda is known as “the land of 1,000 hills.” It’s true. Every turn is either straight up or down. Imagine driving in the dark with people walking everywhere. After arriving safely at the hotel, we found our rooms and grabbed a bite to eat around the corner and went to bed.

February 18, 2024

The next day we walked about 15 minutes to the Rwandan Convention Center in Kigali. The Tour de Rwanda is underway, so we got to see teams from all over the world bike up and down the hills. Tents, camera crews, and children lined the fencing of the route to watch as competitors raced by. A truly great experience. Watch a clip from the race here. We left for lunch with our B2P guide, Zura, then the market and finally started making our way to where we’ll call home for the next 2 weeks. As we drove farther and farther out of Kigali, the more smiles, pointing and waving we received. We were greeted at the cars by many people. We had a lot of double takes with wide eyes, but they were always followed with a huge smile! We got about halfway to our homebase but were delayed by the bike race; we had to get another hotel for the night.

February 19, 2024

This morning we left for the job site to start work after checking out of the hotel. The team woke up with pure excitement! Some even wanted to skip breakfast. We faced a couple of unforeseen challenges on the way: road closure, traffic, and people wanting to stop and meet us. We finally got to the site 2 hours later than we had originally planned. Once we arrived on site, we got straight to work after our opening song and stretch and flex. It was about 75 degrees all day with a couple sprinkles of rain around lunch. Our goals for the day were putting together the scaffold, cutting some of the 206 pieces of rebar, and assembling the tower. We weren’t sure if we could accomplish all of that with a late start, and the strict cut off time of 4pm. By 1pm, we had the tower about halfway assembled, the rebar about half-way cut (all by hand), and the scaffold about 1/3 of the way done. Lunch was a combination of rice, spinach, beans and veggie mix. By 4pm, we had hand-cut 164 pieces of rebar, assembled it, and given the tower one coat of paint; we had just 2 levels left of the scaffold to complete. We were back on track even after having a late start. Our journey back to our accommodations was so rewarding. Children chased our cars with waves, smiles, and pure joy! During our daily debrief during dinner, I asked the team some of their personal goals, plus/ deltas, and lessons learned. The positives mentioned were meeting all the locals, the encouraging songs they would sing once we began our stretch and flex, and the curious children. They were reluctant to give “high-fives,” but once the first brave child stuck their hand out, it became their favorite thing to do! Some of our deltas and lessons learned were to make sure we integrate the locals while working. It is important to share with them how to maintain the bridge once we are gone. Another was to rotate people in and out. Day one everyone was full of energy and excitement. We can’t work too hard and tire ourselves out right out the gate. We discussed rotating people in and out more and how to incorporate the locals more. We ended our debrief on a positive note by sharing our favorite memory, which was having everybody jump in to lift the tower pieces at the start of the day. It took just about every single person. It was such a great way to start off the project together as a whole team.

Flintco’s 2022 Bridge Building Mission

Mucyabahinja, Rwanda  |  February 17th – March 6th 2022


 

In 2022, a team of 10 Flintco volunteers helped complete the 86-meter Mucyabahinja (Moo-cha-bah-heen-ya) Suspension Bridge in the East-Central African Village of Giseke. Before the bridge was built, an average of 10 people were dying each year trying to cross the river to go to school or seek healthcare. Not anymore.

“Your bridge is looking good today!” said Marielle Rodriguez, Industry Coordinator with B2P, in a follow-up email to Flintco with a video from the village six months after the bridge was complete. “And the reason we know that is because we decided to go back and ask the community how their life has changed, what is different now, what services they can reach, and how they feel.”