From the scene – week no. 12
What's happening on the site.
We havefinished the cement bricks and are starting to make half-bricks as well as the non-cement bricks. However, storing the new bricks is becoming a problem. That's why we are spending most of our mornings moving the traditional bricks that were made by the first crew before the brick-presses arrived. Some of the bricks made on our machines are already durable enough to stack, saving us additional space. At first, we had a bit of a problem with the locals to form a human chain that would allow us to move the bricks from point A to point B faster. However, after a couple of failed attempts, with the bricks piling up in the middle of the chain, we've found our rhythm and the job is coming along nicely.
We are also running out of containers to mix the brick mix in. The sharp edges of the hand mixers and the enthusiasm of the volunteers are giving them a hard time.
The concrete for all of the columns had been poured, so we have started to prepare the reinforcement and molds for the lintels. In the second half of the week, we are already progressing with pouring the concrete to the lintels as well, giving the building a new dimension. It's much easier to imagine what it will be like inside the workshop.
Vasek has also started to cut the parts for the windows. There are 20 pieces of different sizes to be cut per window and there will be 7 windows in total. All the parts will then be welded together.
It's also getting hotter and hotter, so we had to change our schedule. We're getting up at 6am and starting work an hour earlier so we can have a longer lunch break to avoid the heat.
Our route from the construction site to get the brick presses - and pulling the brick presses back to the construction site.
Finally, you can see the drone footage.
Visit of the Minister of Foreign Affairs
Tuesday was a big day for us, in the afternoon the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Stanley K. Kakubo, MP came for a visit. We had the privilege of meeting not only him but others from the Ministerial delegation, for example the Mayor of the nearby town of Kapiri, where we often go shopping, also arrived. Media representatives were also present.
WIt was an important event both for us and for the locals, who enthusiastically took photos with the Minister. Accompanied by singing women from Kashitu, we walked the whole delegation to the construction site. The construction company and local volunteers were working diligently and the delegation members were able to try their hand at brick making themselves. They were particularly impressed by the simplicity of the technology and the fact that the bricks do not need to be fired and, therefore, do not contribute to the local problem of deforestation. The Minister also appreciated the opportunity to improve housing for locals and creation of more jobs through brick making.
After the site tour, there was a presentation about the project and the activities of the local NGO, New Renato Community Society.The meeting concluded with a short speech to the local people who tirelessly accompanied the event with singing and drumming. The Minister also promised to arrive when the building was completed.
The pleasant atmosphere of the whole event filled us all with new energy and motivation.
A small video taster of the Minister's parade
Michaela and Dita Chittussi finished their project - educational paintings on the wall of the elementary school building. On Friday evening after work we indulged in a small opening and admired their skill. After the holidays, the children can look forward to seeing not only a map of Africa and Zambia, but also a diagram of the water cycle or even a detailed painting of the human digestive system. Our private opening followed seamlessly into the evening party, a farewell party before the girls leave. In the morning, however, we had a lot of work to do, so by midnight we were all under the covers.
On Sunday, we were invited to a football game. We thought of it as a rest after work, we figured we'd hang out for a while, cheer on the locals and then go to dinner. We arrived at the field and suddenly we were led into a huddle where the captains were already picking the team. Before we even realize what's going on, we become offense and defense players. We are playing barefoot. At first, we were a little worried about broken toes and scraped feet, but in the heat of the game we forgot all about it. We were playing with a new ball we brought as a present from the Czech Republic. After a few dozen minutes - forever for some of us - we ended the game at 0:0. After that, the real game we originally came for began. We learned that this is really a professional league and that footballers are paid. We waved at one of them as we see him every day at the construction site. Dinner will be on the table any minute now, though, so after a while we leave with the score still 0-0. For the curious, the locals won 6-0.
After dinner we found a bit of strength and ran out to the "Hippomouse" hill (a name invented by Pája based on unidentifiable creatures she saw there. Anyway, no one else saw any animals on the hill) nearby to watch the sunset. Unfortunately, the visibility was obscured due to smoke from wildfires around us. We still enjoyed the event and relaxed on the hill.
A little demonstration of what exactly those bonfire parties mean :-)
And a little bit of life in Kashitu…