The First Pile; we’re really getting started !!

Before a large complex like “Molenstaete” can start construction, a lot of work needs to get done in the area’s of planning permission, request for permits, involvement of local and national authorities, etc, etc. That takes time and sometimes a lot of time. Besides, it also takes a lot of effort to find a suitable location and the necessary space for the buildings to be constructed. In our case that was a sports complex and an adjacent football field. Also for the replacement of these facilities a solution needed to be found before the final green light could be given. But in Spring 2008, the time was there and the preparations for Start of Construction could begin.
Our patience in waiting for the construction to start was finally going to be awarded and that was a good enough reason to have a party with the whole group, our parents, our governors, our advisor from MEE and also the project management team and the people who will be providing care and support in the future. In short, everyone who is directly involved and has done so much to reach this stage and most likely will have to do even more to see the project through to the final result.

We decided that the party should be a real “Driving the 1st Pile” happening, complete with the physical act of driving this 1st pile into position. The builders team from Winters-Moeskops was so kind to make a piling machine available to us, at no cost at all. This machine, one from ancient times, had to be operated by muscle power. This meant that the piling block - a heavy weight that had to be hoisted to be dropped on the pile and hit it into the ground - was lifted by pulling a rope. But before we got that far, we assembled in the building of MEE West Brabant for coffee and cake. The cake was specially produced for the occasion. A photograph of the maquette of our new complex was printed on marzipan and covered the cake. On top of it were bamboo sticks symbolising the piles, each one holding a photograph of one of the future inhabitants. This made it quite clear who were having a party today!!

After the coffee the group walked to the construction site where a wooden pile had already been erected in the machine and where the group was instructed how they had to drive this pile into the ground.






The rope with which the block had to be hoisted had 8 tails, so that we could all pull together and once the block was up we had to drop it by simultaneously letting go of the rope. Just a bit difficult at the start but we soon got the hang of it and managed to drive the pile down. It was actually such good fun that the group of parents wanted a go as well and after them the gentlemen form the care institution and the building and construction management also had their turn.

After a while the spot where our future home will be was well marked. We hope the rest of the piles will be done by the builders and for them we wish they will have modern machines, because this was quite a tiring exercise.
Many thanks to the Winters-Moeskops firm for their contribution to this party which we will remember as a fantastic start of our project.








Afterwards all of us, including parents, governors and other officials went to a restaurant to have a buffet dinner and replenish our forces. It was a formidable party and we hope the other piles will be put into position as professionally as we did with the 1st one !!