Day 13 – Inauguration day

14th June

The day is finally here, it’s hard to believe so much has happened in the last week and a half!

Tired with lack of sleep and the physical effort over the last few days, yet  with real anticipation we drove down to site early. Today was to be a full day of  speeches dances and celebrations.  Well not quite. We’ve discovered that not everything runs to time here, and today was no exception. The MC finally started up a full three hours after the scheduled 9am start. But hey, what’s three hours between friends, and what followed was well worth the wait.

There were lengthy and lively speeches from local politicians and from bridge committee members. There were poems and dances from local schoolchildren, there was dancing with locals and even a mock (thank god) circumcision ceremony, though I can’t for the life of me think why this was appropriate.  The ceremony concluded with a procession to open the bridge officially and it was like nothing I’ve seen before.  Hundreds of people crossing the bridge, watching and enjoying the day.

It was the perfect conclusion to our project. We came here to build a bridge that would radically transform and improve the lives of the community. Today we saw clearly the impact our work will have, and how appreciative everyone was. Bridges always bring people together, and we always have a sense of pride in our role in creating lasting engineering structures, but seldom do we get to appreciate the impact they have , close up, face to face. Wonderful!

namawakulu bridge
The team, on the bridge, without the rain, for once!

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