This week had to face lots of issues! Our main goals were to understand what was going on with the trench of the foundation since it was fully filled with water and to finish with the construction of the floor slab.
Monday was a crazy day! Atdhe went to Kitale to order all the materials for the foundation and the floor slab while Despoina was heading along with Walter to bring the natural stones. The road was a mess and muddy and this process took longer than we thought. When we reached the plot we found out that the trench of the foundation was filled up with water 1 ft deep. We tried to empty it but this process continued for three more times. We knew that the rain the previous day had affected the trench and also that some of this water was coming from down but we had to understand if there was another source and actually there were two different spots where the water was coming. In order to solve this problem, we decided to dig a drainage trench on the perimeter of the plot deeper than the one on the foundation and to extend it up to the level of the main road and across of it in order the water to drain in a small path. In that case the water would trapped into the drainage trench and it wouldn’t appear at our house anymore. So, more digging! The workers hated us it was hard to keep them motivated. Believe us, it wasn’t easy! Though, by doing that we had also improved the main road as the water used to gather over there and to create a small pond. But now it had just started drain to our path. We were one day behind on our schedule but that was one of the most important things to do in order to start the construction of the house. The moment the drainage was finished everybody was relieved, and it gave everybody a satisfaction.
This process lasted almost two days but on Tuesday evening we were glad to see that there wasn’t any water in the trench, so we started filling up the trench with hardcore and marram and decided to compact it. The preparations for the footing of the foundation were almost there.
On Wednesday and while we have been waiting for the rest amount of sand and ballast to come to the field we started preparing the reinforced steel for the foundation. The materials arrived quite late as James – our lorry driver had some problems with the lorry. It usually breaks down 3 times the day. After few hours he finally made it and we started preparing our concrete mixture. Hard job to do! But we finally we were a step front. During the lunch time, the neighbors and Christina cooked chicken for us as it is a habit to eat chicken when you start with the construction of the foundation. The lunch was amazing and the atmosphere quite cheerfull. By the end of the day the footing was ready. In the evening we met with Icarus to update him and to ask him some help the next days.
On Thursday, we started by curing the concrete. The stones were there so we started leveling and locating the stones. During the day, one of the biggest sponsors Ank Waayers of Rural Housing Studio along with Michiel and Beata visited us to watch our progress. They brought us some mandazi and chai and we had the chance to relax a little bit. The last two days it was a big surprise for us as we had actually realized that we managed to save lots of materials both in the footing and with the stones too. The foundation didn’t cost as much as we had expected but the delay with the trench was a big loss. Our plot was actually a swamp, Icarus did not know that because he bought it in dry season.
On Friday, we started our day by back filling the trench with the removed soil and to prepare the floor slab. That meant more digging. During the morning Despoina had to work at the office and to calculate all the costs as we had a meeting with Icarus to show him all the expenses. After the lunch break, we started filling the excavated soil of the floor slab with hardcore and marram. But then we realized that we actually didn’t have the proper amount of materials that we should use. James was on his way to bring us everything but of course he was quite late as the lorry broke down once again. James has a lot of tenders so he has a double schedule so before he brings materials he does three other rides. He dropped the hardcore and tried to escape with is lorry to do other jobs, so Atdhe and Walter decided to chase him on the motorbike, then they got on the lorry and forced him to bring our materials first instead of doing other trips. We tried to cover this time by leveling the plot – so more digging. Finally, by the end of the day all the problems have been solved and we were ready to start casting the floor slab. In the evening Icarus visited us to discuss our following steps. Since our funds were over we decided that we cannot continue working if the funds of the family won’t come. So, we decided that after finishing the floor slab we will stop working on the construction site for a week and to try to find more funds. This decision will also actually help the floor slab as it needs 7 days to be cured. Icarus also let us know that they don’t want us to build the kitchen room as they had realized that with the L-Shape house they lose space so they prefer to have a bigger living room.
On Saturday, the fundis were really in rush as they wanted to finish everything by two o’ clock. We have never seen people doing physical work so fast. They started preparing the mixture but we were really worried as James had to bring us more ballast and he was late once again. The casting lasted almost 5 hours and the house looked even bigger. Oh the floor looked amazing, so shinny! The neighbors couldn’t stop visiting us and asking questions about the construction. Some of them asked us if we can build houses for them too. In the evening we had relaxing moments with the rest of the group. Since it was quite cold we decided to use the gjiko (rocket stove) and set up a fire to warm up a little bit.
After two weeks of full work we finally had a lazy Sunday. The whole group was invited to the dam and the rest of the day was quite relaxing.
A new week at the office starts again. We need to secure more funds and to recalculate everything. We can’t wait to go back to the field.
Till next week,