How three muzungu carried the bricks, or the construction of Nhakhande school

Many people ask, how is the construction going? Is the idea to build the school still alive? And I am happy to answer – the idea is becoming the reality! The works if not speeding towards the end, but at least moving little by little. We started on 3-4 of November when the first unofficial meeting with the school’s administration and representative of the community where the school is going to be build occurred.

After more unofficial meetings, finally we had the official meeting with the community, the director and administration of the school, the chiefs of the community (the structure of every community is very “bureaucratic” which means there are a lot of chiefs).

During this meeting we, the three volunteers, have presented our vision and we have asked the community to actively participate in the construction of the school. After all, we are building this house not for us, but for them! And moreover, the aim of the development is not to give the fish, but to teach fishing!

The community received the news very enthusiastic and has immediately decided to start! Already two days after the meeting the community left for the mountains to accumulate stones for the foundation of the school.

And our workers, volunteers from the community, have started to prepare the area for construction – taking out the weeds, leveling the ground, digging the trenches for the future foundation. At the end, before all the holidays, we had the area ready, the stones transported to the construction site, the sand brought and workers ready to start… The only problem why we had to delay the starting of the construction is the shortage of cement in the region. Which meant that the price of one bag has grown almost twice, whereas the cement had already occupied one third of our budget! While we were waiting for Christmas miracle in the form of 150 bags in our yard, the days were passing, the rain was raining, the grass growing and our optimism a bit fading.

Meanwhile we bought the bricks… How do you imagine this? Big truck, loaded with the bricks, slowly turning towards the school and uniformed men unloading the bricks in nice piles? No! First, every single brick is hand made! Second, almost one third of the bricks were transported to the construction site thanks to the strong heads (not hands!) of volunteers and people from the community…

you just put three four bricks on your head and march ahead! We are fortunate that the distance to the school is around 600-700 meters.

With the help of the community and later on with the help of the car of teachers training college we have transported 7000 bricks.

And we left on holiday with the hope that the cement problem will be somehow resolved! And I guess the intuition did not let us down – after the new year the prices went down to normal ones and at the moment we are happy, because we have already started to construct the walls! But we have to hurry up, because the school starts 4 of February and the old "building" collapsed during hard rains. Where will the students study? I have no idea...


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