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.