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!!

1 kommentar:

  1. Great job!!! I just showed it to I Po Pa, Peter and Phillipa and they liked it alot! They were also happy to recogniced some nice details from Noh Bo/Safe Haven. Actually, we have used just that detail again in our widow-house too....;)