Hopefully you have been able to follow our progress over the past year and if not, take a few minutes to look through the pictures and re-live the process. I would like to say a special thank you to those who have given financially. Yabus has already changed as EVERY day people bring their produce to market, children go to school, and the clinic sees patients from both sides of the river because of this bridge. Thank you.
-Eli Fader

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Bridge Celebration

Well, it happened. The bridge is officially opened. It was a beautiful day and full of surprises. There was a flurry of preparations as we purchased 2 bulls and 4 goats to adequately celebrate. We were honored to have the county commissioner and another official from the state come and participate in the opening.

Enjoy the pictures.
People gathering for the celebration.
Barnabas Loma, our translator for the celebration
Children crossing.
What is a celebration without food? The many colored cloths are covering 'kisira' which is ground sorghum made into a pancake and used to dip into soup.
Stephen Adamu, SIM Missionary, leading a few songs in celebration. We sang a couple songs.

I got the opportunity to speak. It was a great time sharing about the challenges and successes we had in building the bridge. I was able to share from John 5:24 about Christ being our bridge from earth to heaven. It was the perfect opportunity.

The name of the bridge is Kubri Waheda or Unity Bridge. It is our desire that this bridge brings peace and unity to the village of Yabus and those in the surrounding area.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

What's Left? Kharama!

Dear All,

The only thing left is to celebrate (kharama). It should be a good time to remember the work that has been put into the bridge, celebrate success, and give praise to God for keeping everyone safe and bringing the needed finances together. Here are a few of our teammates with a goat that we have purchased in the market. We have bought 2 bulls and 4 goats. We look forward to a great day of celebration.


Thursday, July 16. If you find yourself close to Yabus, stop in and celebrate with us. You are welcome.
Lori Hofmeister, Kristen, Anter Deng, and Stephen Adamu with one of our celebration goats.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

First Crossers

This post is dedicated to a couple pictures of those who are crossing for the first time. There is always a mixture of curiosity, excitement, fear, and nervousness as people (and animals) attempt their first crossing.

This lady has incredible balance to carry a load in her hand and on her head while crossing a swinging, bouncing bridge. She did it with utmost grace.

Let's just say this goat spent very little time on his feet and most of his time being dragged across the bridge. Oh well, you can't please everyone.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Chainlink Found!

Good News! I searched the compound again to see if any chainlink fence had been put anywhere by mistake and I just found scraps. Not enough. I did what I should have done in the first place and prayed that somehow God would make chainlink appear or stretch out of nowhere. It wouldn't be the first time he made something like this happen. I know he could do it with fish and bread, why not chainlink? He answered in a different way however. Two men showed up and said they were looking for the bridge builder. I accepted this flattering term and they then explained they had brought some wire down from the north. I had ordered some straight wire that could help give the chainlink some stability so I said I would come to the market and collect it. When I arrived at the market, I found 12 rolls of chainlink fence in the man's trailer! He had somehow misunderstood me (probably my poor Arabic) when I asked for wire and had brought chain link instead. Not bad. It turns out we don't need the wire and we do need the chain link. Thank you God!

The GAP!

I found out today that we did not get enough chain link fence. I thought I ordered 170 meters, plenty to cover the 74 meter span, but I guess I was wrong. I went to a neighboring organization, GOAL, to see if I could borrow some but they didn't have any. I am not sure what I am going to do. The roads have almost completely closed to the northern towns so I might be able to get an order in real quick.

Bending Top Posts

We bent the pieces of rebar that connect the bottom cable, the cross beam and the top cable together. It was a challenge and we didn't do a very good job. Perhaps some suggestions from any rebar bending gurus out there.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Wood Decking Finished!

I am thrilled to say that Yabus now has a crossable bridge. It is none too soon either. I woke up this morning to find the river was swollen from the rains in the night. Students coming to our primary and secondary school bravely crossed the unfinished sections this morning and when they returned home in the afternoon they found the wood decking finished. The six guys working with me are excellent and I have enjoyed the enthusiasm they have for doing the work well.

My boys were excited to try out the new bridge and especially enjoyed the small bounce the bridge has. The fencing has not been put on the sides yet so I kept them close.

It is also fun to see people cross for the first time. The children have especially taken well to traveling 20 feet in the air. Here is Canberra, fellow missionary, crossing for the first time with several children.

A picture from the South side including the ramp and finished deck

Monday, June 22, 2009

Deck Work Begun

After a year of anticipating wood decking over the Yabus river, it finally has become a reality. We laid about 20 feet of wood decking today and I couldn't be happier. I look forward to another full day of laying decking tomorrow. We are getting a crowd of people now when we work. For a long time they have been asking me what the bridge will look like. I have tried to explain but it never really comes across clearly. The big concern I always hear is that they are afraid of falling off the bridge. I will try my best to keep that from happening. As you can see the boards are pressed tightly together to make it as safe as possible.

Finish of the Southside Approach

We finished off the south side approach today which means the cement work is basically done. We decided to make the entrance come from the side since coming from the back would take a lot of blocks, cement, and broken rock to fill. It gives it a unique feature.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Epic day

It was a great but long day as we poured the cap on the approach of the North side. The guys did a great job and we patiently hand mixed 24 bags of cement with hand collected rock, hand shoveled sand, and hand drawn water. Getting the picture? It takes a ton of work to build by hand here. I can't wait to walk on this thing.

Back to Work

Phil and his family left about a month ago and we went with them to rest in Nairobi. It was a good time thanking God for the work that was accomplished during Phil's time in Sudan. He is now off in Uganda. Now it is back to work. I arrived back a couple weeks ago and have been working hard on filling the approaches with broken rock. Here are some pictures filling the first approach on the North side of the river.

This last picture shows that we are have almost completely filled the approach with rock and sand. It should only be a matter of days and we'll put cement.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Installing suspenders

Want a rush? I recently got one installing these suspenders on the bridge. We load them onto the bridge cables near the towers and then slide or kick them into place. I then had to pull the cables close together and slip the top loop of the rebar over the handrail cable. It was an exhausting day, but a thrill to see the bridge take shape.

4 cables UP!

Here are four cables up and their specific sag set. Phil has done an excellent job with the transit making sure the cables are "spot on". Here also is Emily, Phil's wife, checking to make sure the cables are set well.

pulling the cables

Here are a few pictures from pulling the cables across the river. Our master plan was to tie a small steel cable to the back of the pick up truck. We would then attach this to the 65 meter mark on the bridge cable and have the truck pull the cable tight. It worked fairly well. Enjoy some of the pictures from this two day adventure.

Phil and Thomas Simon are pictured attaching the small steel rope to the bridge cable.

The truck pulling the cable tight

Phil and Eli have to go out on the strung cable and loosen the small steel cable to pull the next one. Looks fun, eh?

Friday, April 24, 2009

stretching the first cable

It has been an exciting day. We learned a lot. Today we tried to stretch our first cable across the Yabus River by attaching it to the back of the truck and pulling it. We learned a lot about how to attach it (using a bulldog grip and chain), where to attach it (65 meter mark), and that this cable is extremely heavy. We are thrilled that it fed straight into the tubes we have buried in the deadman anchor. We hope to get pictures of that soon. Say a prayer of safety for us as we try and stretch the four cables across tomorrow.
Here is Phil getting the cables in position to be pulled.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Deadmen Done and Endless Masonry

Way to go, Bethany, for posting! This is Phil now, adding to what Bethany has already said.

Last week we cast the second of the two soil anchors (deadmen)! While we wait for the concrete to cure (1 week) before stringing up the cables, we are focusing on the masonry approaches (ramps) on each side of the river and have a small crew working on fabricating the wood and steel deck pieces. It is getting very exciting here. Hopefully within a week we'll have some cables hanging across the river! We'll be sure to post a lot of pictures then.

For now, here are two pictures, before and during the casting the second soil anchor. What an exhausting day! Our crew worked without stopping from 8 am until 5 pm to get it done, and then God blessed us that night with a nice rain to help the concrete cure. It is painful to water this amount of curing concrete by hauling one 20 Liter jerry can at a time from the river. Whew!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Progress at Unity Bridge

I confess this is Bethany, Eli's wife, writing the bridge update this week. Eli and Phil have been working so hard and making such great progress this week that I wanted to be sure to share the news with those of you who check up on the progress and pray for this project.
Forgive me since I don't know all the correct lingo. This has been a critical week. The stubborn rock that's been giving them so much pain, finally came out enough to the point that they could put the deadman anchor in on that side. What victory! Last week our whole SIM Yabus team gathered at the rock to pray for God to remove it in His time. What a joy to see Him do it so soon. Just when Eli and Phil will starting to wonder if it would ever come out.
So today they poured the concrete for the second deadman anchor. All it needs is a week to set and they'll be ready to stretch the cables across the water! That will be another great day for taking pictures and letting you know of more progress.
It's still amazing to me that this bridge is becoming a reality. All I can say is: God is AWESOME! He does what He wants His way. Eli and I never would have dreamed we'd be building a bridge of all things, when we first arrived in Sudan. It's been a stretching and rewarding journey.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Setbacks and Hope for Success

Bridge construction has slowed to a crawl, but we have hopes to pick up speed this Monday.

When one of the bridge's sponsors was asked to leave the country, we were left without funding for the laborers' wages. The World Food Programme offered a food-for-work deal that seemed great to us but was not well received by the laborers. For the past two weeks, as we've been discussing various options, we have hired a small group of the secondary students at SBNA (South Blue Nile Academy, run by SIM) to help us out in the afternoons, once classes are out. This has been a great opportunity to teach and interact with the students, and we have spent quite a bit of time collecting materials (sand and rock) for the reinforced concrete soil anchor.

We just received word that there are some funds now available for laborers' wages (praise the Lord!), so we have invited folks to show up for work this Monday. Here is a picture of the first cable we were able to hoist into place over the threshold of the tower.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

If at first you don't succeed....

When the bridge workers suggested that we try and burn the stone again, I had my doubts. We had done this twice before and had made little progress. “However, this time might be different,” they persuaded me. I changed one thing from how we had burned the rock before. Instead of using diesel, I used some old truck oil. Apparently oil is the secret. Look at these pictures and celebrate with me the removal of some large chunks of stone. We need to remove this stone so that we can anchor the cables low in the ground.
Pouring old truck oil on the rock and spreading it around with tree branches
The rock is now "painted" in oil so we load the wood we collected in the forest.
This was an impressively hot fire. Even though I was so far away, I found it difficult to take this picture.
A crack! We used our small metal chisels to open the crack and then some large wooden "chisels" to further open the crack. It was a great relief to see this large chunk of stone come out. Phil Greene, our engineer, is coming in one week and I hope'd to have the rock completely out by the time of his arrival. We shall see.