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Our Program
Bridge Span (feet)
Team Members
Working Days
Lives Improved

The Region

Segunda Kayarani is one of many communities within the municipality of Colomi in Bolivia. The community is situated at an altitude of nearly 11,000 feet above sea level. The rural project site is located in a valley adjacent to the Corani Lake, surrounded by mountains. Community members make a living primarily through agriculture, with varieties of the potato as one of their most profitable crops.

The community of Kayarani consists of roughly 200 members, including adults and children. The community is self-sufficient with families raising livestock such as sheep, chicken, pigs, cows, ducks and geese, farming trout and growing a variety of crops, including potatoes, beans and oats. The people are very traditional and regularly hold ceremonial activities to recognize special events.

The Project

Ten volunteers across Michael Baker’s geographies and practices traveled to Bolivia to complete the construction of a 128-foot-long suspension footbridge in Kayarani. Our team worked for seven days to construct the bridge. During this time, we experienced long days of arduous yet rewarding work. At the onset of construction, we faced one of our first challenges: an oversized boulder inside the south abutment. We worked together with limited construction tools to devise a solution to ensure that the bridge cable would not rest atop this boulder, potentially creating slack in the support. We resolved to chip away at the boulder until sufficient space was created between the rock and the cable. This is just one example of how our team overcame construction challenges to complete the construction of the bridge on time.

Community members were a huge help throughout the entire construction process. From moving thousands of rocks to fill the abutments to mixing concrete to cover the abutments, the community volunteered their time and energy to make the vision of a bridge a reality.

Our Impact

One of the driving forces that expedited the construction of the bridge was to ensure safe means of transportation for students traveling to and from school. Earlier in 2018, a five-year-old girl was tragically killed while walking to school. As the river had swelled during the rainy season, she used the narrow shoulder of the highway bridge as an alternate route to get to school. Unfortunately, she was struck by an oncoming vehicle. Residents’ gratitude and appreciation at the bridge inauguration ceremony emphasized the importance of establishing a connection that will allow both adults and children to travel safely year-round, even in adverse weather conditions.

Our team also visited students at their school and spoke to them about a career in engineering. This inspired the students to dream big, with some of the students expressing their desire to become engineers when they grew up. Our deep connection with the community of Kayarani and the bridge that we built together will create a secure path to bright futures.

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