Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Hold that thought...

As is prone to happen, I guess it was too good to be true that we would be able to dig straight down to the water in a week and have a working well in two. About ten feet down we have struck some impassable rock. This is unfortunate because work was moving fast in a location that fit perfectly with design and planning ideas. But that is one of the unknowns. So they are going to try and relocate the well to somewhere just beyond the tall grass in the picture below. The water is down there somewhere, but in this landscape one can never know quite where to start digging. Nevertheless with another try we hope to get there and things will still proceed relatively on time and as 'planned' as they ever can be.

Monday, January 29, 2007

At Last

The first move. After contract and locations discussions yesterday, we have finally begun digging the well, the first sign of the future of this site. The land is not rocky, but there is a crusty layer of sedimentary rock in the area around the proposed well location. But fortuitously not in the precise location where we had been thinking it would stand. So as of today there is a hole 1800mm across by about 500mm deep. They say within a week they should have hit the water table and within three we will have a fully functioning hand pump fitted for submersible pump attachment once there is power. It is exciting to see the earth finally being moved. I took a stroll around the site to visit three of the nearby schools and imagine the new buildings fitting into that landscape.
Also had my first driving experience in Kabala with the CES truck. Filled up the cab and part of the back with about 15 people to drive to church. No one seemed to mind and I think I’ll be used to the potholed bumpy roads pretty soon.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

For those of you eager to see what has been going on here, just sit tight, can't release all the info at once. Here is a sketch over the site plan of what we have been exploring for the layout of the school. It has developed and changed since this as well. I hope that most of you can understand the drawing! I am able to work both in the computer and also hand drawing, especially when sitting down with people here and discussing the design. I don't want to falsely present my ideas just with fancy renderings and computer drawings. Of course I can do all of that stuff too, but I will have to see how appropriate it will be for the situation and how much will be for myself to explore and understand the space and design of the school better. It is actually very unusual for me to just jump into a design so quickly and have the people here expecting ideas we talk about magically appearing in measured drawings instantly. So I am trying my hardest to slow down the design process and speed up the preparations for construction. There are many things to prepare in the next weeks. I have to learn to accept that many will take longer than I originally expect but that is the best way for this all to come to fruition. Anyhow, thats about all for a few days at least.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

I am looking forward to april when there will be construction on the site and the mango will be in full season.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Drafting by Candlelight

So I have begun sketching and thinking of ideas in discussions with many people in the community here in Kabala. JT Koroma, the future headmaster and I spent several hours traversing the school site and thinking of ideas. I am attempting to process this and come up with drawings which we can use to continue forward. Because the generator usually only runs between 9 and 4 I have to cram in my use of the internet to that time, and have a few hours of battery life on my computer to draft in the evening before I switch to candlelit, hand drafting and sketching. It will take getting used to having to adjust from my normal school working hours which are normally 8pm-2am.
We are hoping to have some construction started on the school property by the Monday (23rd), getting a borehole dug and well setup so we can use the water to begin making bricks. The location of the well will also play a key role in the layout of the school so this is an important decision. For security purposes we will also be constructing a warehouse of sorts from wood and zinc that will hold materials and tools on the site, guarded by a nightwatchman. This way we can avoid tranportation to and from the site every morning and the costs associated with that.
The next few weeks will see some challenging and exciting decisions being made and progress to be seen!

Thursday, January 18, 2007


greetings everyone
so I am starting a blog. We'll see how it goes. I hope that this can be a way for you to see and learn about the process and excitement of building this new school in Kabala.