For the past few days I have been out in Penonome region to build awareness within the community about our presence. We are approaching the local municipalities and hospitals to discuss our goals with hopes of building connections and that they direct us to locations where basic access is a life threatening issue. Thus far response has been great! We have met with some very interesting people that have helped us understand the region and offered support and provided more connections in the remote regions.
To explore bridge sites we have been doing a lot of off road driving and maps here are not all that thorough, so we are learning that sometimes it is helpful to pick up hitch hikers that can guide us in the right direction. Actually, one of our leads for a bridge site actually came from a hitch hiker, who wanted a ride to the next town. Our site investigations also include talking to the nearby residents to realize the need for a bridge, and obtaining basic information such as population, clinic and school locations, and most importantly to determine in the community would be willing to play an active role in bridge construction. We have been running into sites with terrain that is positive for bridge construction, sites with existing bridges which are in a bad shape and sites where terrain is so harsh that building a bridge might not be feasible or would require a unique bridge design.
Below is an image from a possible bridge site. The existing crossing is made of a concrete pad which quickly get flooded during the monsoon season cutting access to a group of 5 villages consisting of 700 residents approximately:
Sometimes we see existing footbridges and stop to assess them. Some are in good condition and some looked sketchy due to rust, wearing out of cables, or missing deck planks. This is a great way to improve our design and learns from design flaws we have noted: