Thursday, August 16, 2012

Another Day at Work

Today we were late getting to the job site because our regular vehicle shredded an alternator belt and Julius, our driver, had to search for one this morning (we hired a friend’s matatu to shuttle us to the site and were able to be onsite by 9:30 a.m.).

When we arrived at the construction site it became apparent the labourers had stayed late last night to finish the remaining hardcore (stone) installation.  They were now on the next phase, which involved the adding of small stones and “murram” (a granular red clay found in a layer about 4 feet underground).  Because there was some doubt the available murram would be sufficient, the contractor asked us to toss all the site’s broken bricks onto the top layer where the masons pulverized them and used them as fill.  We started our “chain gangs” and delivered the broken bricks to the pad while stacking full bricks around the site in preparation for the wall building, which would take place after our departure.

By noon the pad had been completely filled with the crushed bricks and murram and the contractor had doused it with insecticide in preparation for the installation of the damp proof membrane (vinyl roll sheeting that would underlay the concrete slab).  The construction phase of our project had come to an end.

We took a few group photos with the Kenyan Scouts and even one in the neck-deep hole dug by the labourers to find murram.  Looking over the site it was satisfying to see the progress.  What had previously been a scruffy, rutted piece of vacant land was now an orderly and solid-looking foundation.  It was with happiness and sadness we left the site.  We are looking to seeing photos of the site as work continues and, of course, the final result.

Charlotte and Aaron were originally scheduled to attend the outreach clinic; however, it was cancelled due the sendoff party.  Instead, they helped Jenn and Andi organize the pharmacy, making it easier for the staff to find the medical supplies that we provided.  The donated eyeglasses have been a huge success and there were several Eureka moments.  The process would generally require the patient trying on many pair of glasses.  As the number of unsuccessful attempts increased, frustration would grow.  Then one pair would work.  Although the normal test was the reading of a medication box, most were delighted they would be able to read their Bible again.  Aaron describes the reactions of the locals when they were fitted with glasses as glowing with bright smiles.

We headed back to Tindinyo Falls Resort for a farewell party organized by the Building Committee. The luncheon consisted of barbequed chicken, beef, boiled potatoes, rice, kale, the ubiquitous ugali, chapatti and vegetable salad.  Everyone interacted and many conversations were full of jokes, laughter and joy.  Tom introduced many people of significant status to share a few words and express their thanks towards our help to the community.  Our leadership team also thanked a few Canadian and Kenyan Scouts for an outstanding job on the worksite.  We concluded the speeches with the Scout promises (interestingly, the Canadian and Kenyan promises, although containing different words, have virtually identical rhytms) and with the cheer:  Toes, Toes, Knees, Knees, Hip, Hip, Hooray!

We finished our packing that afternoon and were able to enjoy Tindinyo Falls and its beautiful sunset.

By Kayla & Aaron

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