Separated by the Rio Yaco River
Challoma Chico, located in Bolivia’s La Paz region, is a mountainous community home to approximately 450 residents that was becoming separated from essential goods and services by the Rio Yaco River, especially in the wet season.
Sharing Safety Culture
The Walsh team flew from Miami to La Paz, then drove five hours to Challoma. Upon their arrival, they quickly became immersed in the culture. The team shared some culture too, especially when it came to construction safety; introducing Stretch & Flex to the locals before work was to begin.
A Welcoming Community
Team of Volunteers
Eight Walsh volunteers, from engineers to superintendents to surveyors, were part of a project team that built the suspension bridge in less than two weeks. Walsh team members included: David Buch, Aaron Dye, Kim Guse, Amelia Johnson, Mike Lack, James Neeley, Erin Schultz and Stephen Specht.
Teamwork Fills the Abutment
One of the biggest challenges of construction was filling the abutment. The logistics of the site did not allow for any equipment to help relocate materials. The team worked to create a human chain, passing stones one-at-a-time up the hillside. Village residents were eager to help as well.
The 160-foot suspension bridge was constructed in less than two weeks. The bridge was constructed without the use of any equipment; all work was performed by the hands of the construction team.
Upon completion of the bridge, the village celebrated with a grand opening event with music, food, dancing, and also received a visit from regional dignitaries. The Governor of La Paz visited Challoma Chico for the first time to witness the bridge, and join in the festivities with the local citizens.