We started the week with a little bit of a downward feeling on the building process from last week. Our expectations of what we need to achieve here are going through the roof. And with many expectations come many disappointments. But we decided to focus on all the major things we did achieve, which could already mean a major difference for the whole community. Today, for instance, came one of the community neighbours. He wants to built a church and is very interested in our bricks because of the positive relationship between quality and cost. This is what we’re here for, this is what we should focus on.
The whole wall is raised until the level of the ring beam (a beam that lies over all the outside walls in order to connect them). On this ring beam the roof will be connected. After building two layers of adobe blocks we shared with the local fundi’s the principle of a vertical profile. Measuring every course of masonry and having no original point to measure from resulted in a very crooked wall. Nobody in Kenya ever heard of this, including the engineer Jackson who is living with use and is the architect of team 2. Wonderful to share this kind of knowledge in order to develop the way of building with bricks. Also our plan to build a chimney is coming along very well. In a while this family will be able to cook smoke free. Another achievement that was high on the list; a healthy environment for the ladies to cook in.
Unfortunately for us, splitting the wood we were going to use for the roof takes a very long time. Two guys come in the morning in order to split some wood. Their chainsaw runs our of fuel and so Cleophas hands them over a 1000 shilling note to get some fuel. After some hours Cleophas starts to look for them in the neighbourhood. They’re nowhere to be found. In the afternoon they appear back on the compound, totally wasted! So, bye 1000 shilling and no wood splitting for today. The next day the guy is allowed to come back sober and finish his work. There is a total understanding for each other’s situation. Something we fail to understand because of our organized cultural background. We definitely learn here how to take everything not too seriously, Hakuna mattata, ge hebt ut of nie!
Our Christmas was different than how you guys were celebrating it in snow and with a tree in the room. We we’re climbing mt. Elgon, an amazing adventure! And I really had the feeling I was celebrating with my family. Although of course on moments like these, you miss your real family. But we had a wonderful lunch when we arrived at the National park Mt. Elgon with all of us.
We went to visit caves and did some small hiking trails. On the way through the park, we missed the almighty elephant. Nonetheless, we saw a couple of wild animals. Sometimes, when driving on the back of our Toyota truck, I felt like we we’re playing in some Jurassic park movie or something.
The next day, after a nice evening with a campfire, we hiked up the mountain we’re looking at for the last 4,5 months. We drove up quite a lot so we’re not gaining that much altitude in the hike. But for one it was easier than for the other! In the end we made it all together to the top in a pretty good time, 3 hours. The view was absolutely stunning, and we could almost see home…