mandag 21. desember 2009

More money!

Oooh!! And suddenly we now have even more eager sponsors!!
Bygg uten grenser is joining the list of good hearted contributors. They were also one of the main sponsors of the successful workshop arranged by Andreas and TYIN Tegnestue in Thailand in January.
Thank you!


We are hereby congratulating our selves on recieving major sponsoring from Trønderenergi! The workshop (and our personal bankruptcy) is safe, we are more eager than ever and ready to roll.

Uganda, here we come! Again!

Stephen presenting his and our work to representatives from Trønderenergi visiting Ibanda.

We have to say that we are also very grateful to our other sponsors NTNU, Newplan and Luostejok Energy for their contributions. Thank you all!

mandag 16. november 2009

Home, sweet home...

We are back in good ol´Trondheim. It is wonderful to eat different food every other day, even though it costs way more than we can afford. We just ate lunch for close to 90.000,- shillings!

The idea of us being in Uganda less than one week ago seems more and more unreal for each day. The two worlds are so utterly different, and we feel a bit detached from both our project area AND our hometown. Luckily we will be able to acclimatize for a while here, and then do a check on the project-status and realism in January. This gives us a great advantage, and we will probably learn different things from the second trip.

But firstly, we need to build a firm framework around our ideas and experiences. Now everything seems to flow freely in our heads, and it´s time to get a grip!

Workshop in January 2010

We are well into the making of a workshop for students from our university. The invitation is sent and we already have a lot of people applying for participation! The workshop will be held from 10th to 20th of January 2010, and will be a very interesting process to take part in.

The students will collaborate with the core group, and in the short period of 10 days, design and build a structure in relation to the NOREMCO Stadion.

Our next task concerning the workshop is getting funding. We have some support from the university, and have contacted many of the major power companies in Norway. Some of these could possibly be interested in giving the project their christmas gifts.

The first sponsor was actually Newplan, who have given us 2 mill. UGX which is approx. 7.000,- NOK. This is a very interesting turn, since we thought most sponsors for norwegian initiatives are rich, norwegian companies, not african ones. For us this is a very good sign of the close local connection and sustainability of the project.

We are looking forward to an exiting workshop. It will be a blast!

mandag 9. november 2009

The final week

After warming up by digging the drainage, we were ready to start working on the field itself. With timber donated from Rwenzori High and gravel and murram from local contractors, we had spotted out a site for a seating area shaded by a nice roof. We all agreed we should build something to show the community what we are working on and this seemed to be the perfect task.

We marked out a site between the football and the netball fields. Stephen and Noremco had made a nice row of big stones along the fields when they did the levelling work, so these worked as a very good foundation for our new seating area.

We started off by removing the top soil, and digging 8 holes for the foundation of the columns. Fernando, the Portuguese/African 60 year’s old ladies man, had made us steel brackets of scrap from Noremco’s workshop, and these worked perfectly. Lining the brackets up parallel and in level took some discussions, but in the end we could put in concrete and wait for it to dry.

While waiting for the concrete, the most eager ones of the guys cut and put together the four wooden frames. Shaban was drill-meister and they made the best they could out of somewhat wobbly beams.

Thursday evening we got visitors from Kampala. Astrid and Olav are architect students exchanging from Oslo, Norway to Makerere. They wanted to help us build and brought their Dutch medicine-studying friend Saskia with them. Her band-aids and experience from wrapping people up, turned out to be quite handy the following days.

All three of the mzungos were of great help in the building process. Together with the core group we managed to raise the wooden frames and start laying the rafters. It’s no less than incredible how the Ugandans manoeuvre on top of unsteady, slim constructions.

Since laying one and one rafter is no work for 15 people, we started a design session. We needed more seating than only the stones and we had one day to make it. So while Andreas was supervising the roof building, Astrid, Olav and Ragnhild arranged a seating workshop. With one group each, the three architects-to-be introduced new ideas of lines, shapes, meetings between materials and aesthetics. We had interesting discussions with ideas from both us and the core group, and the three design proposals finally boiled down to a simple concept of slim benches in two lines. We cut out pieces in wood, Stephen put used motor oil on the ones going into ground, and we started digging again. And it must be said; the Ugandan women are impressively good at digging.

Saturday we lay the roof. That is; Shaban and Jolait lay the roof. They were amazing, worked in the sun all day, learning by doing and being absolutely exhausted when finished. While the laying of the roof went more or less smoothly by it self, the rest of us braced the construction, finished the benches and spread out a layer of gravel and murram.

Half an hour before sunset the roof was complete and we were all very tired and very happy. It was an amazing experience watching the students and the footballers turn in to builders, crafts men and designers. We learned that when they finally could see where we were going with the work, when they could visualize the final result and a construction started growing, they all put in the extra effort to make us finish in time.

The successful end of three weeks of workshops was of course celebrated with a party. We bought 60 chapatis from the chapatti boy outside the lodge and Cessar and Mbalasi bought meat and prepared Muchoni – roasted meat. We all gathered in the compound outside our room, listening to music, eating, drinking and being sooo tired from working. But we had a very nice time and Joseph even held a lovely speech thanking us for our efforts and for leaving knowledge and inspiration for future development.

Finally the students had to go back to their dormitories and the rest of us went to the Peak to loose our hearing and shake our last energies out! Great times!!

mandag 2. november 2009

Digging a drainage and unexpected turns:

At the entrance of the school (and in the future; the stadium) water were gathering in a muddy pool, making it hard to pass for cars, bodas and people. As a test to see how the group cooperated in physical work, we told everyone to bring work-clothes, hoes and shovels for a real "dugnad". NOREMCO sponsored us with an partly broken PVC-pipe which made an excellent culvert.

Measuring the pipe

After struggling to get enough tools, we could start digging. The water was drained and three groups started digging different ditches. One group started on the main drainage, another dug the trench following the road towards a bigger aquaduct close by and the third fixed a smaller pool of water.

Cessar and Shaban digging hard

Even though the work was a bit inefficient, and some people worked harder than others, we managed to finish before lunch (an hour delayed). Some kids from the area stood and watched for a long time, curious to see what was happening. We included them in the work, and they deemed very good rock-pickers. They ran all over the area collecting stones and pebbles for the drainage. They seemed happy to share lunch with us.

Covering the pipe

Stones to stop the rushing water from digging out the road

Smaller drainage 5 meter down the road

Paying taxes

A small enterprise arose during the work. Since the boda-bodas pass this road quite often, they were happy to see the road being improved. Our most ingenious guys started taxing the drivers 500 shilling per time they passed to support the work on the road. After making sure the money was pooled to benefit the whole group, we saw no reason to stop the business. Cessar was appointed treasurer and Shaban was set to police him, avoiding corruption.

fredag 30. oktober 2009

Moving forward

After a week of many events, we are now taking an internet day to maintain our connections with the outside world.

After the recommendation of Ibanda's future major, madam Teddy, we went to see Alex, the physical planner at the District Head Quarters. Accidentally we met the wrong planner-Alex, but this one was very helpful and provided us with everything he had of statistics from the area. A lucky accident. When we later met the Alex we were supposed to meet, he turned out to be quite a disappointment. Not going into details, we finally got a soft copy of his report when Andreas helped him look on the computer - after at least half an hour of waiting. It is sadly becoming more and more clear to us that many jobs are filled with employers unfit for the tasks sat before them. And that they are still doing a good job keeping their job by pretending to work and having lots to do...

Pasi left us on Wednesday and is going to continue his studies in Gulu in northern Uganda. He is travelling with the planning group in Kampala, joining them in their work in an IDP-camp (Internally Displaced People). We very much enjoyed Pasi's visit, it is always good to get a third opinion on things, and we recommend everybody to follow his blog on

The workshops are still running and we see the group becoming closer and more enthusiastic in the work. Tuesday we had a very long discussion on the placement of different functions. Divided into three groups, each making a plan proposal, we got several ideas on both sizes and placements, but in the end we all agreed on a single plan. It is encouraging to see their enthusiasm, even though they need some time to arrive with good solutions.

Thursday we met at the field, using sticks and rope to measure and mark the plan we had decided on two days earlier. This time the group actually took control and organized the work them selves; dividing areas and tasks to different groups. This was great! but time demanding. Even after six weeks in the country, we are still not used to "the time difference." Things take time. But the group got started and we guided them as best we could. It was fun to talk about spaces, imagining activities, problems, rooms, where will people walk, where would they want to find water, snacks, shadow, where are the special guests and so on and so on.

We had some trouble convincing them that a netball field actually is supposed to be 33x18 meters - even though the fields in the valley are not. In the end, the convincing argument was that we had found the measurements in a book of standards. If they want the field to be of international standard, it needs to have these measures...

The core now seems to believe in the project and are getting eager. They have realized that we are leaving in a short while, and that we should do something visual to show the community what we are working on. So, tomorrow we are starting digging! We have been offered a pipe from Noremco and students from Rwenzori High has carried stones from the river. This makes a very good drainage which will fix a muddy hole on the road leading in to the stadium. Next week we hope to get both sand, murram, gravel, bricks and maybe even some wood, and we will begin building foundation and structures.

We also got the good news of getting more visitors! Thursday we are expecting Astrid and Olav to come help us with the building. They are exchange students at Makerere University in Kampala, both from the Architecture School in Oslo. They are very welcome!

fredag 23. oktober 2009

Session 3: Program Discussions and Sketch Modelling

Friday we held a new workshop with the core group. The task was to identify main functions and parts of the physical design of the stadium. Our friend and fellow student Pasi and our professor Hans Skotte are visiting, giving us a great opportunity to get objective feedback to our methods and process.

We started by splitting into groups of 4-5 people. We asked for ideas and suggestions to what would be natural to have at the stadium. Each group had at least one footballer, one boy and one girl student from Rwenzori High.This way we ensured a wider perspective and exchange of values and ideas from different standpoints.

After some time we gathered around a big sheet of paper, and asked everyone to state one important feature they wanted at the field. This was noted in a thought-chart, not in list-form to prevent the usual rigid and “result oriented” answers.

This was more difficult that imagined. We came quite fast into a line of “stating-personal-items” for the visitors coming to the field. More focus was given to footballboots, referee whistles and scoreboards than the physical structures we were aiming for.

As an attempt to stop this we tried to change the strategy to focus on what the needs of the different kinds of visitors could be and what the differences between them are. What do players need that visitors don´t? What are the similarities between the referee´s and the manager´s needs? The change of strategy didn´t seem to help, and we felt somewhat frustrated and demoralized.

The solution was a ten minute break and to proceed to the next task: Sketch-modelling!

We brought cardboard, tape and knives and introduced the idea of building small scale examples of the structures identified earlier. It was slow in the start, mostly because it is a extremely foreign way of working and thinking, but also because the participants were afraid to do something wrong or that they weren´t able to do it good enough.

We had to do some explanation and showing examples of how cardboard can be folded and cut to make shapes, but when they picked up the general idea it all came to life. The groups all worked enthusiasticly and concentrated for a long time. Even the arrival of food from Mama Juliet couldn´t brake the trance of model-building. “We just need 15 more mintues”. It was a great comfort to see the workshop evolving on its own, and we feel motivated by their efforts.

The models were put onto three maps we had prepared, based on the measurements from the last workshop, and the groups presented their ideas and discussions to the rest. To promote more discussions, we asked some questions on the differences between the three group´s suggestions. As an example there were two different entrances on opposite sides of the field. When asked about this the groups had to think and argue to promote their own choices.

The best thing for us was that they started discussing amongst themselves, not only defending their design to us. We identified the fact that two solutions can have equally valid arguments, and that one can “find” information hidden in the models and inside the heads of each other.

Some of the arguments even led to the important discussion on how can we make sure the structures are usable to other activities and other users as well. Because the resources are so limited, we need to make sure our project is benefitting more people in the communty. If the canteen is placed close to the school it can be used for all the students in the daytime and for bystanders during games in the evening and the weekends. This issue was pushed on by prof. Skotte, and we will try to bring it further in the upcoming workshops.