As my stay was coming to an end, I decided to bring my camera out more and take photos. The children are huge fans of this, and enjoy posing then looking at whatever image we capture. It was a bit difficult to photograph them candidly, since they would immediately pose as soon as they saw the camera, which ultimately isn't that terrible since they were all rather photogenic.
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At the construction site, we began ramming earth walls. We learned about the set up for the metal formwork, the percentage that they used for the earth mixture, and how they pour the earth into the formwork to be rammed. It's really impressive how the workers are able to ram earth for hours - one of them even sang while doing so, while another would smile and pose for the camera!
Once the walls were done being rammed, they needed to be protected from the rain. We had to get plenty of large plastic sheets to protect our walls since it would still be a few weeks until we are able to cover them with the roof.
One of the things we had to resolve was the design and construction of the roof and windows, and our team got together to brainstorm ideas. It wasn't so easy to have these decisions made before the start of construction, since we didn't know the exact condition of the site beforehand, and plenty of circumstances change during the build process. Fortunately our discussions were productive and we were able to come to conclusions.
I was able to go to another village where Nka Foundation had 2 other projects, a classroom and a clinic. I went with another volunteer who worked on the classroom, which finished just a few months ago but was already in use! The students and teachers showed their immense appreciation for him, and I can only imagine how happy our team will be once we see our classroom put to good use.
Our free time was spent playing soccer with other volunteers and locals (the other team members, not myself!), taking night photos, and exploring the village. Catrina and I walked around the village and met 3 boys who were making palm oil. They explained and demonstrated all the steps to us, and we learned how they have minimal to almost no waste in the whole process.
The Friday before I left, we had a downpour and lost power (and therefore running water) starting from mid afternoon. The volunteers on the German team, who were leaving on Saturday like myself, had planned to prepare a dinner for everyone in the village along with the food the kitchen usually prepares. We still didn't have power by the time dinner was ready, but we all circled around small lanters and flashlights together. In was an interesting experience, so many people coming to eat together - we ended up running out of plates! So as soon as people finished eating, plates were washed then handed over to the next person.
Since there was no power, boys from the village decided to play the drums for everyone. The bonfire was lit and everyone gathered around to start the party. Sitting there by the bonfire, with music playing along with some singing and dancing from both locals and volunteers, brought out a feeling that I still haven't been able to put into words. All I can say is I couldn't have thought of a better way to end my trip, and my one regret is that I couldn't stay longer.
- Carmen Velez