fredag 26. februar 2010

Almost finished

We're back by our desks in Trondheim and now in the final week of our project. We are almost done placing all our thoughts, photos and illustrations together in a book. A quite nice book too.

We are not done, but already very happy. We have had a wonderful time and faced many challenges we have learned a lot from.

Thanks to all that have helped, inspired and worked with us!

The exhibition opens the 18th of March.
Welcome to KiT!

Andreas and Ragnhild

fredag 22. januar 2010

To sum up...

Ragnhild and Andreas has given me the task to round off the workshop blog with a sum up of the last two weeks here in Ibanda. So, what has this workshop period been like? What will I return back home with?

What we’ll remember from this trip is not how we couldn’t stand any more rice with goat meat. We’ll remember all the things that make Ibanda what it is and all the things that are different, that we somehow ended up liking.

I’ll remember waking up to a blue sky by a rooster’s crow on the first day in Ibanda, meeting a relaxed village in a valley protected by enormous mountains on all sides. The first meeting was breathtaking and beautiful.

I’ll remember the beautiful starry night sky, a clear picture forever imprinted on my mind. It was totally black with an enormous amount of shiny stars blinking down at me. It felt like I was standing in a fairytale-world with the real sky above.

I’ll remember all the sounds of Ibanda. Trucks passing by at night, loudly, as if they just passed by our beds. Howling dogs waking us up at 12 pm and 2 am in the night. A pair of glowing eyes snarling angrily right outside our window through the darkness. The sound of crickets playing loud from sunset to dawn. Parked cars starting up their engines at 7 o’clock, leaving our room filled with exhaust and with no need for an alarm clock. The travelling gospel band holding concerts 7 days in a row, filling the whole village with the sounds of Christ from sunset to bedtime.

I’ll remember all the children calling for us when we walked back and forth from the site every day, asking “HOW ARE YOU?” with big white grins on their faces. I’ll remember their scornful laughs when they pointed at us calling us “mzungu”, excited about seeing white persons.

I’ll remember the chapatti-boy outside our hostel, making the best chapattis in Uganda! And I’ll remember the chapattis themselves, with delicious onions and tomatoes which made me believe I could survive the last five days in Ibanda.

I’ll remember how much I appreciated the flush toilet at the monastery just across the road when the diarrhoea was at its worse. It felt just like heaven!

I’ll remember how much I appreciated being a carpenter in Norway during the workshop days, longing for precise building materials, helpful electrical tools and being able to create solutions that I’m satisfied with.

I’ll remember all the different types of people working together towards a common goal. And I’ll remember us succeeding in giving a project to a village that will develop from it.

It’s been hard. It’s been frustrating. It’s been a physical and psychological strain. But we made it. And we are left back with strength and memories of a lifetime.
It has been great!



A collection of safety proofed foot ware seen on site:

onsdag 20. januar 2010

Flooring song

Today was ment to be our last day at the site. Because of illness, we all have come to an agreement that we will continue for two more days.

This morning it rained cats and dogs…or should we say goats and cows? lol. And since this was suppose to bee the dryseason (!?), rainwear was not on the packinglist. We should probably have known better in this time of climate crises! Anyways it resulted in staying in bed for two more hours. We did not complain… Ten days of hard work makes your body ache. But suddenly the sun appeared, and we were all good to go for a new exiting day at the site.

Unfortunately we had to tear down parts of yesterday's brick wall. The heat turns the bricks too dry bricks making them suck water out of the mortar, which then in turn gets practically useless and glueless. So we had to do it all over again. It really takes a lot of time building brick walls in Uganda!

Today we finished the concrete floors in both of the dressing rooms. This was hard work, but fortunately two native boys, Clinton and Joseph, were helping us. The boys started singing improvised African songs about the work - making it all into pure joy. They also taught us how to count to three in their local language Lukonzo. (We would not be able to write it!) Clinton and Joseph have from now on the status of being Ugandan Masters of Concrete!

(A little help from the editor on the numbers: 1 – ngoma, 2 – ibiri, 3 – isato)

Even though it rained several times during the day we managed to do a whole lot of work like finishing the VIP-flooring and putting up the roof on the last dressing room. Well done!

Suddenly the sun sets and another eventful day in Ibanda has come to an end…
Thank you Ibanda!

Love Jenny & Hanne

tirsdag 19. januar 2010

All in all not just another brick in the wall…

Today, we are a day away from the workshops official end and I am perched on a rock under the stadium seating roof. On our first visit to the site of the Ibanda workshop we took shelter from the sudden tropical downpour under the same roof. This quirky structure with its eccentric pitch is barely two months old. Andreas and Ragnhild had built it with their local team when they were in Ibanda last November. On the first day we – the newcomers, old-timers, locals and mzungus- huddled under it and stared across the pitch at the site where we would be building more stadium facilities over the next 10 days. All we could see then were 5 sections of 2mt diameter concrete pipes on the site and not much else. It was fun to speculate what our mixed bunch would leave behind in 10 short days.

Everyone under roof on rainy first day

Nine days later the scene across the field has changed. I still see the pipes; I also see our team busy building. The awkwardness of the beginning has given away a unit working, singing, arguing and laughing together. Through days of sickness, health, rain, shine, productive days, unproductive days, communication days, miscommunication days we have continued building. And the results are there to see. The two changing room roofs are up on both sides of the pipes (roof sheeting in fast progress, brick walls in slow progress), the VIP seating stands high above the ground in the centre (flooring on the way, roof still to go, awesome view from top) and the referee room fits cosily in the central pipe ( its hexagonal elevation providing a perfect ‘football’ motif!) In 9 chaotic days, not bad!! No wonder Andreas keeps saying –‘I am happy’! Or maybe he is just being reassuring….

The raising of VIP stage:

The non stop physical activity coupled with the pressure of delivering on time and delivering well in a still unfamiliar context have made these ten days an intense experience. We can measure results only in hindsight but every once in a while there have been moments which offered welcome insight into the context of our hectic activity. We learned to find a balance between our technical knowledge and the local knowhow of materials and constraints. Julian showed us how to tie re-inforcement bars, Silje adapted to build with crooked timber, Jenny learned to get the perpendicular lines just right with four different methods and I learnt finally to build with my hands a brick wall in three different techniques ( sort of ! ) It seems that it is possible to pull off an audacious amount of building in 10 days with a healthy diet Meat, Posho, Matoke and Doddo everyday. We also now know that Pringles and Coke are crucial health supplements.

There is no time yet to take stock as there is one more day of work still to go. I am just glad to be here, of seeing, doing and learning amongst such wonderful people. I wish I could stay to see things completed but unfortunately I cannot stay longer (almost everyone else is staying back an extra couple of days more to finish work ). So I will have to leave behind Shaban and Caesar busy on the roof, Clinton and Josephs impromptu songs, Kikki and Van deep in discussion on the timber wall, Baluku and Olav with their yellow concrete mixer, Tuva and Per painting the pipes, Silje and Rune busy on their VIP perch, Alex with the changing room windows, Mujuni helping everyone, Mbusa and Ingrid with the bricks, Andreas and Ragnhild trying to keep this craziness in control and get back to Kampala. After spending two months understanding urban planning in Kampala last year it is good come back to see this side of Uganda and to get back to building. Tusen Takk, Wasingya, Asante Sana Andreas og Ragnhild for the opportunity! To Stephen, Joseph, Agnes and everyone in Ibanda for taking such good care and to my new Norwegian and CDTS friends for the ‘nice time' and the language classes.

Lessons in Norwegian, KiSwahili, Lukonzo and Hindi

There are so many experiences, people, and moments crowding my mind that I almost look forward to the bumpy 6 hour bus ride back to Kampala tomorrow as time for reflection!


Amritha Ballal

mandag 18. januar 2010

What went wrong and who's to blame

I guess this day was when we started realising that we were not going to be done by the planned date. I will therefore focus only on the negative and in an utterly subjective way identify where the problems occurres on any typical day and point the finger of shame in the general direction of who’s to blame.

Things that takes more time than it should during a typical day and who is to blame:

Morning starts at 7 a.m. dawn. Objects necessary to conduct the series of activities commonly summed up with the word breakfast start to appear at 7.30 a.m. and the last of these objects are generally at the table around 8 a.m. The students who also, it seems, are also an imperative to the conduction of the previously mentioned act of breakfast appear at an even more stretched out interval, say to 8.30 am.

To blame: Slow students, and a bit the kitchen.

2.Carrying equipment, materials and water.
Once at the site, usually later than expected and with the comforting shadow receding and increasingly menacing sun, work doesn’t start up at once. Do to local bad apples that reportedly steal everything that is not literally nailed down, materials, tools and whatever else is required for a working day to be carried out from a locked up storage somewhat 200m away from the site.

To blame: Up to no good locals, and slow students.

Ingrid and Ida carrying things that is not yet nailed down.

3.Getting annoyed with unfamiliar materials.
Wood shaped like a banana in several directions. 2”x 6” that more resembles 1,5” - 3,5” x 4” – 6”. Wood that is to wet and too heavy and too dense, and not long enough. Beautiful drawings are composed and planned by eager western student minds the previous night. Too much time is thereafter required to morn the failed plans and to reach the conclusion that we have to make a long piece of wood by joining together tree, four or five pieces of wood. Just like we learned in carpenter school that we shouldn’t do since doing this will leave the piece less strong and certainly fail and kill everyone.

To blame: Hard dense stupid endangered jungle trees, and students with too high expectations and to little sense of adaptation.

4.Finding the right tools for the job.
It sounds like your standard tip from any self-help book. But when the right tool for the job is the only tool we have and someone else is using it finding the right tool for the job becomes a habit that consumes lots of time and lots of excess will to live.

To blame: The instant-gratification generation student who thinks the wait for the light to come on when one turns a switch is too long.

Ingrid finally got her hands on our one set of spanners.

Lunch is usually served between and 3.30 pm. Students feast on the food for about 15 min and spend the next hour laying on the grass in the shade drained from the events of 1,2,3, and 4 and the scorching mid day sun.

To blame: Slow kitchen, too hot African sun, badly acclimatised student.

6.Carrying inn all the materials, tools, and such to prevent it being stolen by thieving local bad apples.

Work has to be ended some 45 min before the light disappears around 7.30 p.m, to start to carrying in the stuff that one started making this morning, but due to the delays of 1,2,3,4,5 it is not finished and you have not yet nailed it down to the rest of the structure.

To blame: Same locals as in the morning. Mostly them.

This was only a few of the reasons we are going to miss our deadline. If you have any more suggestions, please feel free to mention them here.


søndag 17. januar 2010

The Sunday above floor-glory story

This was the day when our building's elevation finally rose over the 30 centimeters of the dressing room's ring beam. To se the main roof construction up in the air worked as a catalyzer on the entire group. In addition it gave the work site even more attention from curious bystanders and passers by.

We've all felt the time limit approaching, and been longing for a roof - which could provide shade to make the work more endurable and effective.

While the roof coloumbs and beams was raised the bricklaying of the dressing rooms walls started. This was not a flying start, even dough there was a lot of visible energy and pace. It became evident to put on the brakes when crispy dry bricks, not in level, was stacked upon each another combined with vast amounts of dry and worthless mortar. Discussions started within our group, mzungus and the local lads. In addition school teachers and boda boda drivers of the street all felt they had something to say. This frustrating exchange of meanings lasted trough out the the working day, and here is the compromised conclusion: Norwegian masonry tradition is not the same as Ugandan. The bricks and their strength are different, the mortar, or at least the view on mortar, different, the equipment are different, resulting in different technics and approaches to laying of bricks. To top of this debate on what building tradition our project was best served with, we also had Amritha in place telling how it's done in India.

To wrap it up I would like to dedicate a few lines to our precious Rune. This was the day when he was ordered to fill up our beloved generator with fuel. This generator is our only source of electricity at the site and is therefor very dear to us. Rune did as he was told and filled sweet Genny with fuel. Diesel or gasoline? That's potato potato.

This minor slip can't hide the fact that Rune now has taken the name Mr. Solid (with good reason).


lørdag 16. januar 2010

Poem of the day

Moral were low
We were missing snow
Hottest day until now
Work went slow
Interrupted by a cow
Could have shot it with arrow and bow
Framework removed so and so
Ring beam revealed, made with love

Change in mood with a market trip
Strange how these things so easily can flip
We did not need more than a little sip
Of a soda to reattach a smile on our lip (s)
All forgotten were the difficult construction for the VIP(read with Norwegian pronunciation)
At the end of day all had gotten a grip
On life and were eager to go back to work with enthusiasm


fredag 15. januar 2010

Good atmosphere

Early in the morning the cockcrows, goats, trucks, children or alarm clock woke us as usual. It was a good atmosphere in the Norwegian camp this morning, almost everyone felt healthy and ready for work.
Through the day we completed casting the foundation for walls and columns in the first dressing room.

The VIP-tribune-gang, who had been plagued with illness for a while, could finally start building the great truss that would span 6m. They had pondered and thought about the construction over the past days when they were ill and at home. Unfortunately the wood materials were not as straight or long as in their drawings. This is one of the charming differences between Norway and Uganda materials.

Today's big challenge in the referee room was how to attach the wood beam to concrete pipe in a simple manner without much additional construction. (After some discussion, the solution was to connect beam with a big nail, which actually worked out very well.)

Ragnhild and Steven, who constantly are getting stuff to the building site, were getting wooden materials this day. They had found a good solution to tightening all the materials to the back of the truck. Unexpectedly it did not work out that well; in the steep hills all the wooden materials suddenly disappeared……

After a modified solution (and some extra work) they were good to go.

After a long day of work we celebrated Ragnhild’s birthday with cake, champagne and gifts. The CDTS boys made a T-shirt with greetings from everyone participating in the workshop. After singing the birthday song in 4 languages and eating a lot of cake, we went out to the local pub. This was followed by the local discotheque which originally were closed, but opened in honour of all the guests.

And everything ended up being Super Cool or SAWA!