(post by Laura Frost)
After the last few days of building, we have seen the foundations that we first saw on Saturday turn rapidly into 13 levels of breeze blocks with a roof, door frames and spaces for windows in a structure that actually resembles a house! It’s been incredibly exciting to see the fruits of our labour take shape so quickly, but inevitably at some point we had to reach the point of small fiddly jobs that seemed to take forever without much reward. That day was today!
In Team A, Daniel, Abel and Tolu were otherwise occupied having been voted the most suitable people to make concrete for the latrine. This was a very physical job using a pickaxe and shovels to break down big white stones and mix them with water, cement and quarry dust. They did an awesome job, and were a great source of entertainment to us and the local women with the strange sounds they decided to make while using their brute force (I have it on good authority it was, supposedly, a bird noise though I am not entirely convinced by this). Regardless of their peculiar methods, they got the job done and now the latrine (which will be toilet in one half and shower in the other half) has a floor.
Back at the house, the spaces around the roof needed filling to ensure it would be waterproof. The front and back of the house just needed vast quantities of mortar but the sides also needed breeze blocks being cut into shape, as the roof is sloped to allow rainwater to roll off.
We also put the window frames in today, spending what felt like hours filling the surrounds with mortar to hold them in place and then spreading mortar in large patches around the windows and front door for decoration which will apparently get buffed up and look very attractive, according to one of our builders Godwin.
There was also a start of leveling the floor – which resulted in a massive cockroach nest being disturbed!!!!
At lunchtime we did our daily trip to the community center where we handed across various equipment for the school including notebooks, pencils, coloured pencils, stickers, games, football kits, shoes and a classroom teddy. It was immensely gratifying to see how happy and appreciative the staff were about these small items that we take for granted. We were told that some of the kids can’t afford notebooks for them to write in so they were very valuable.
I walked past a boy (maybe 8-10 years old) who looked like he had cerebral palsy and it made me wonder about care for the disabled. I spoke to the social worker who informed me that there are one or two organisations that can help but it’s very difficult to get accepted, so again it’s all just down to help available from extended families. It must be very difficult without the help we would rely on in the UK.
Overall though it has been a great day with a bittersweet feeling as we realised our volunteering days are nearly over.