From the scene – week no.4
What happened last week? We are in eight here!
On Tuesday morning we arrived in Lusaka - Bara, Honza E. and Roman - and on Wednesday we were joined by another Honza - Tilinger. In the evening we met Matej, who came to pick us up and get some important things. While in Kashitu the construction officially started on Thursday, in Lusaka the shopping was going on.
As far as electricity is concerned, it is over 300 m from the nearest socket to the site. We compared several options for getting electricity there, namely cable/generator/transformer. In the end, we decided to get a 5 kW generator, which was the cheapest, runs on petrol and can run two or three mixers. We have a 400 liter mixer and will be using it to make concrete and cement mortar. The water storage tank we chose was the biggest one that would fit on the truck. It all worked out just fine.
On Friday morning we managed to get in touch with the lady from the company transporting the brick-presses from Durban to Lusaka, who promised to try to expedite the shipment. They should have been here three weeks ago. On Monday the shipment finally went for clearance, but the journey is estimated to take at least another week and a half. Meanwhile, at the site, local volunteers dug foundations over two days. On Monday, the construction company came out to take a look and decided to deepen and level the excavations a bit more so they would be the same depth everywhere. The original condition was 65 to 70 cm. Then they started compacting the base layer of gravel.
On Monday, Petr and Bornface arranged a big truck and an excavator in Kapiri to help us load gravel and aggregate from the quarry and transport it directly to the construction site. We had calculated that it would not be worthwhile to bring everything by car due to the price of fuel, even if we did not count our own labour and depreciation of the car. The truck, assisted by the excavator at the quarry, would take one or two days to bring it all to us, whereas we would be driving back and forth for much longer.
The price of petrol here, by the way, is between 27 and 28 kwacha, which is equivalent to 32 to 33 crowns. Diesel is slightly cheaper, costing mostly under 25 kwacha, or some 29 crowns. Yet it is common for a worker in a village to earn 50 to 60 kwacha per day, or 60 to 70 crowns.
We also already have all the sieves we needed, so we are continuously sifting the clay and sand for the brick-making mix. On Monday evening, after waiting all day, they also brought us 200 bags of cement, which we deposited in the cabinet of the local nursery by the light of headlamps.
On Tuesday morning, Peter, Matej and Paja left for Lusaka to renew their visas, as they have been here for almost a month and Peter will apply for a "visiting permit", which he is the only one of us who needs, as he will be here for more than three months. While they are there, they will also try to stop by the Euro Commission and the UNDP country office to update them on the progress of our project and how to proceed. The others - Honza, Lukas, Roman and Bara are staying in Kashitu for the time being and overseeing the construction, specifically the bottom layer of the foundations, the transport of materials from the quarry and the cooperation with the construction company and local volunteers, which so far is going quite smoothly by African standards :)
Honza E. with Roman and Lukas drove to Kapiri to get, among other things, hoses and connecting material so that we could connect the storage tank on the construction site to the existing pipeline with a pump at the community center where we are staying.
As far as our leasure activities are concerned, Matej stretched a slackline in front of our house, Petr a hammock and Bara became a member of the local choir. On Saturday we all went on a small trip to a nearby rock and on Sunday the new arrivals attended mass in the church where they were warmly welcomed and invited to dance, which they didn't expect much. In the evening we still managed to catch a friendly football match. So far in our home game with the rodents, the mice are leading the scor two toasted breads and one bag of nsimi. That's also why on Tuesday our family grew by another member - a little cat we named Mufasa and we hope he will support us in this unequal battle.