Update Week 11
Despite constantly returning digestive problems and the shrinking of our volunteers workforce, we have made a huge step forward this week. This also because our local workers are never sick and always giving their best! The project would not have been possible without the curiosity, strength, diligence and persistence of our local dream-team: Yunus, Abu, Joseph, Fatau, Ushaw, Jakob and Alhassan, who returned to school last week. Thank you guys!
It has taken a lot of sweat and blood to make them, and they all have their particularities, but we are happy to announce that all the rammed earth walls are finally done! We wanted to give our last wall, the service hatch between the kitchen and the middle space, a more creative touch. To do so, we decided to form a wave with some different sand-colors that Kwame brought us from Accra. We have rammed this into our wall and we think it has turned out quite nice considering its our first attempt 🙂 . Thank you Kwame and Joelle (from Hive Earth!) for your good advice and the colors!
All our window and door frames are installed this week as well as the louvre-blades in the fixed window elements. The doors and service-window are under currently construction and will be fixed in the beginning of the upcoming week. So we are very confident that there will be still enough time for us and our carpenter Salifu to take care of the furniture this week.
Mr. America, our electrician, fixed all the sockets, lights and switches as well as the junction box and the main switch. So all the electrical work inside the building is finished now and we proudly switched on the lights for the first time this week! After all this was done we were finally able to continue with the rammed earth floors and the top layer made up with poured earth. Due to the sloping terrain of our site we still needed to add a lot of earth to balance the ground floor of our building. This took a long time (Especially with the Ghanain wheelbarrows 😉 ) and a lot of earth to reach the final level but this was luckily finally done on Sunday afternoon. If all goes well, we expect to be ready with the floors on Tuesday. Just in time for the big opening ceremony on Sunday!
After our roof was finished and all the trusses were painted with anti rust, we finally could take off all the black plastic sheets. In the following night we had, of course., extremely heavy rainfalls and thunderstorms. A serious test for our buildings roof… Although most of the walls are protected by our wide projecting roof, when the rain and the wind – which always come from the east here – join forces, we discovered that it still can reach our eastern walls. It did not effect the loading parts with 5% cement, but the non-load bearing walls without cement where slightly damaged. Maybe it’s because these walls are still relatively new and haven’t had enough time to dry to reach their full strength. But to be on the safe side we have decided to plaster these, “exposed” sides of the building with a local mixture of earth, cow dung and cement. To protect the load-bearing columns we have rubbed sheabutter on their surface. Although it is not really necessary for our cement walls we just decided to give it a try and observe the effect. All the trees around the building site are sheanut trees, which fruits are used to produce sheabutter. It is mainly used for cooking or as a body-creme but it also can be applied to earth structures to make walls more water resistant.
We have also managed to complete the base for the water tank and hand-washbasins it this week and now only the final slap and plumbing-fixtures are missing. The breastwork elements in front of the building are also finished, we just need to add some plants and install the wooden benches.
By the end of this week we had to say goodbye to Nele, Muriel, Asrin, Rafael, Tobias and Marius. So for our last week we have a small manageable group left with only 2 volunteers, Lisa and Marlene. But our local team will of course also be there so we should be able to be finish most of the building by Sunday.
We hope you all keep your fingers crossed for us and wish us luck for the final week. The next newsletter might come a little later as we will probably write it at some nice beach in the south of Ghana! Okay, stay turned everybody for our FINAL WEEK!
The MUDcafeteria Team