build day 5

Back to Brenda’s site again on Friday. We’ve made a lot of progress on this site… with Gertrude and Moffat’s house not far behind. Friday was a bit of an easier day. It didn’t feel like we had to do as much of the heavier work. When we arrived at the site, the guys got us set up to install a metal frame with bars on the windows. It was a very interesting process… use a hammer to bash a hole in the wall that the brackets can sit in, then use mortar to fill in the gaping hole. I’m sure we could have made smaller holes but we follow instructions and don’t question the process. While we did that, Amion and Enock started installing the corrugated metal roof on the house. It’s really coming together and starting to look like a real house! Once the roof was on, we filled in the gaps between the blocks and the roof with more blocks and mortar. Most of the holes and spaces get filled in to seal the house. There will be two air grates that will remain open above both of the windows.

Just before lunch, I took a little break to pull out some knitting to see if Margaret and Aliness might be interested. In the past when I’ve travelled and have been knitting my own work, I’ve had people interested and ask questions and I sometimes will try and teach them. So, for this trip, I brought some extra yarn and needles, just in case. To my surprise, they both already knew how to knit (and crochet)! Margaret said she taught herself and indeed, it looked like she had watched someone do it and replicated the mirror image. It seemed backward to any knitting technique I’ve seen but still was effective. Aliness took the knitting needles and used them to crochet! Like I’ve said before, these folks can make tools out of anything and are very creative about it. Their aunt, also a knitter, dropped by and showed Margaret how to start a baby bonnet. Apparently football (soccer) is not the only universal language!

Aliness crochets
Aliness used knitting needles that I brought to crochet a bag.

We had lunch again at the school and afterward, were taken on a tour by the principle, Doreen. We dropped in several classrooms with students from different grades and they all stood and said ‘hello’ to us in unison. The school has a computer lab with about 20 older Dell CPUs and monitors. They had all been donated by an organization from Ireland. I’ve learned that Ireland is a big contributor to charitable endeavours in Africa. Habitat Ireland did a build just before our team in Ethiopia. The school also has a new science lab that was built in the last year. Doreen would like to be able to add three more rooms to accommodate high school grades. The school would need additional funding/donations to accomplish that but I have no doubt she’ll do it. She has a lot of conviction about the benefits and outcomes of a strong education.

In the afternoon, we were shown how to smooth the walls by taking a broken piece of concrete and using it like a pumice stone on the rough mortar edges around the blocks. It was a very tedious job which none of us liked and surprisingly, we all would have preferred mixing mortar. Some of the team continued working on the latrine with Enock and got the door frames installed and more blocks up. And then all of a sudden… it was time to leave the site for the day. Another day tomorrow!

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