Thank goodness we only work for a half-day on Saturday! Our muscles, joints, and bones are aching! I’m exhausted!!! I’ve got a couple of minor injuries this week and a lot of bruises! It’s amazing what happens on different builds and with different building materials. On my first Global Village build with Habitat, in Honduras, I cut my arm when I dropped a boulder we were using as part of the foundation. On the builds in Ethiopia and Cambodia, we used wood, dirt, bark, and some form of waterproof gypsum board (Cambodia build only). No injuries for me! Now we’re building a house with concrete blocks and I’m a mess! I was sawing rebar earlier this week and cut my arm. If I’d cut myself like that at home, I wouldn’t have even treated it but we have to report injuries here. I sprained a finger on my left hand. That actually was done when playing catch with some of the kids in the community! My inner forearms are completely scratched up from carrying concrete blocks. And I can’t even count how many bruises I have all over my legs and arms! Thankfully… nothing serious… for anyone on the team.
Back at Gertrude and Moffat’s house again and even though we were knocking off shortly after noon, there was a lot to do! This was one of our heaviest work days as Mighty, the site supervisor, wanted to ensure we reached a certain point in the build that day. We only have one build day left on Monday! Tuesday will be our farewell ceremony and there will be lots to celebrate! The time has just flown by. We worked on the floors in the house, filling them level with dirt then making sure the dirt was packed down by tamping it with a tamper and/or with concrete blocks. We poured a layer of gravel over the dirt and then had to tamp that down also. Tamping quickly became our least favourite activity. It’s exhausting!!!!!!! We then mixed concrete to pour the floors in the house, that Moffat then levelled. The latrine at this site was not as progressed as at Brenda’s site, so a few of us got to work on putting up more blocks on it.
I have to admit… I was pretty tired and needed a bit of downtime from the construction. I noticed that Gertrude had just come back with a pail of water and was about to go get more. I asked if I could help and we walked back to the water pump together, about 300m from her home. I asked if I could try carrying the water back on my head as the women do and she helped me heave it up! Some of the women there laughed at me! It was pretty heavy and with moving liquid in the pail, not very balanced. I watched Gertrude as she raised her pail on to her own head and quickly walked ahead of me, using only one hand on the pail for balance. I was much more deliberate with my steps and had to use two hands. I don’t think I spilled any though! When we got back to the site, I still didn’t feel up to more heavy work. The kids had found the soccer ball that Adam had brought and asked to play. So, I grabbed it and about 12 or so kids materialized to play catch. I just lobbed the ball up in the air and they lobbed it back. It was fun and they seemed to really enjoy it. And that’s how I got the sprained finger!
We left the site just after 12 noon and our first stop before lunch was the Lusaka Inter-City Bus Terminus. As a team, we needed to buy bus tickets for our R&R trip to Livingstone on Wednesday this week. I also had to buy a ticket individually as I will be travelling on my own after the team returns on July 22nd. Only a handful of us who needed to go into the terminal went as Joseph (our Habitat Zambia host) has been very protective of where we go while on Habitat time. The terminal was so chaotic and there were so many people trying to sell us stuff. We got our tickets but not without a lot of interesting characters interacting with us. I would have taken photos but I don’t think it’s the place you want to take out a camera.
After the bus terminal, we went to a mall and had pizza for lunch. It was delicious!!! We’ve visited a couple of malls as Joseph considers them to be safe. I haven’t described how we’ve spent our downtime this week at all. It’s been very restrictive. Leave the lodge after breakfast, go to the build site, come directly back to the lodge and eat dinner here. We haven’t had any opportunity to experience Lusaka or venture out on our own, which I’m used to with other Habitat builds. Joseph has not taken us anywhere in Lusaka to experience the people or the culture, outside of the Linda community where we build. Apparently, there have been some mishaps with Habitat teams in the past that have caused concern and so the safest thing is for us to be at our lodge or in more affluent areas. We’ve gone to a couple of grocery stores to stock up on snacks that are in malls that are located in what I think are more upper middle class areas. There are detached homes in these areas but they are behind concrete block walls with barbed wire. I haven’t taken photos of the areas as we only drive through them and never stop. A few of us, who have travelled before, are feeling a little confined but when on a build trip with Habitat, the best thing to do is go with the flow and be flexible. Joseph knows things about Lusaka that we don’t. It is still frustrating though. I will be travelling by myself starting on July 23rd and will have to go the bus terminal alone. That is how I would normally travel but there are definitely liability considerations while we are still on Habitat time.
We were supposed to visit a market on Saturday afternoon but apparently it closed at noon. So after lunch and some time at the mall, we came back to the lodge for the evening.