Friday, March 9, 2007
I think that things will be progressing faster than even I imagined. On tuesday we staked out the outside of the building and began laying the lines for the first foundation. This is done by stringing the lines across and then spreading sand directly below the line using an improvised "mango-bob" Thursday and friday have been spent trenching for the footings. 11 pick axes and about 15 shovels working away. Never at the same time actually, they are always taking breaks while their partner works. The ground where we are building is very hard, and places have large patches of rock where we were planning on digging our footings. But this poses little problem for the structure and we will form up the footings with 1x12s. It has been good to look at the lay of the land and sort out the elevations of the classrooms etc as we are laying out and even digging.
We will likely have to cut one mango tree to make room for the school hall. That was after much convincing on my part that we shouldn't just cut them all down. For some reason most people see construction, and see trees and think everything should just be hacked down to prepare the site. Yes even that beautiful mango in the middle of the site. The security guards saw it and thought..."Charcoal!!" I think it will be a constant battle to save the trees until the building is finally up and the kids gather under the mature rather than the young trees for shade and will appreciate their fruit and their shade.
We have also been using a nearly brand new concrete mixer to make blocks, and have almost 5000 foundation blocks. More sand and rock are arriving every day.
The Well has been capped and I myself have already drunk the water from it. Still tastes a little concrety but that will be gone in a few weeks. Good water! We did not sink the culvert as far as was planned because it it a rock ways down. But there should be enough water, especially this being the dryest part of the year now. We are very thankful that it will save us having to truck water to the site in a truck from nearby streams etc.