Friday, July 19, 2013

Building a Berm

If you are anything like me, when you read the word "berm" you thought to yourself, "Huh, I wonder what that is?"  I first heard the word being thrown around after SIM Niger & Sahel Academy began making their plans to restore and protect our campus from future flooding.  So I asked Google for some help and I got something similar to this definition from Merriam-Webster : 
a narrow shelf, path, or ledge typically at the top or bottom of a slope; also : a mound or wall of earth or sand.
It sounded much like a dam to me except I think it has to be built up against something solid.  Notice the words "I think".  I'm not going to claim to know much of anything on this subject but I'll show you what is being built on campus and perhaps you'll get a fuller picture of what a berm really is.

You may remember that a portion of the wall around our campus collapsed.  This is what it looked like directly after the flooding.

That section of the wall has now been rebuilt. 

As you can see, a shorter wall has been built about six feet away from the outer wall.  This does not extend all around the campus but does stretch from corner to corner in the areas that were under the most pressure from the flood waters. 

The short inner wall varies in height based on the height to which the flood waters rose.  In the above picture the wall was at knee level.  The duplex built just in front of this wall experienced very little flooding.  Whereas our soccer field is lower ground so the wall comes to about chest level on me.

Once the short inner wall is completed...

the area between it and the outer wall is being filled with dirt.

The idea is that should the river flood again this berm will reinforce the wall and hold back the water.

Please continue to pray for the completion of this project and wisdom for those who are working on it. 


  1. That's so interesting! Thanks for the post.

  2. Beth, I know one of the men leading the project on the wall--Rich and his wife, Anna. They attended my dad's church while Rich took classes at Northland back in the late '70's, early '80's (I was in college myself most of that time). Our church took on some of their support when they went to Mali and have been with them ever since!! It's neat to see them now working side by side with many of my SIM friends!! So thankful for the way the restoration is going--PTL!! Thanks for the updates!!! God bless you real good!!! :)

    1. Anna was telling me just the other day that Rich had taken classes at Northland. I'm wondering if you go to the same church as Connie Townsend who is also up in that area. I know their church also supports the Marshalls. We are certainly so thankful for Rich and Anna and their willingness to help with this project. Without it, we would be snowed under if that's even possible in Niger! :)

    2. This IS Conni!! :) Thanks for the great pix to share with the church family so they can also see the progress--and the Lord's answer to prayer!! (Give Anna hugs for me!! So glad they are there to help you--and Anna will be teaching "your" 2nd graders, I hear!! Keep up the great work for Him and always keep that contagious smile!! God Bless!!)

    3. Oops! I should have figured that out. :) Yes, so thankful that Anna was willing to take on the 2nd grade! She is super organized and will do an amazing job!

  3. thanks for the photos, beth! making great progress, aren't they?

  4. I wonder how it will help to keep out the flood waters from the neighbors wall which collapsed and all the flood waters that rolled down the road out front and right into the campus? I guess I just don't see the "big picture" :)

  5. I don't understand it all either, Chantelle. Just trusting that the engineers know what they are doing! :)


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