For me it’s hard to believe we are starting our 8th week. Wait, scratch that, it’s our 9th week! We are having so many new experiences on and off the jobsite that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to keep track of the weeks anymore. Nonetheless the project is progressively moving along despite some local obstacles we are forced to address. It’s very pleasing to see how far we have come from our first few weeks.
We reached a point in the build where we need to incorporate a very important design element; the windows. After much discussion, we were able to give window frame dimensions to our local carpenter Sammy. Because the wood for the windows would be permanently attached to the classroom, we started our week by sending our raw hardwood delivery to the mill to be smoothed. However, this meant we could not continue to ram our Earth walls on the facade until the wood for the window frames returned from the mill a few days later. Lucky for us, the classroom has some walls which do not have windows and also an interior wall still left to ram. This meant construction did not have to stop while we waited for the window frames. A big relief as losing a day of work completely throws our construction schedule.
The wood was returned to us 2 days later and Sammy built us our four 8ft x 6ft window frames. The next challenge we faced was carrying the extremely heavy window frames from the Arts Village, where they were built, down the road to the jobsite. It took all six of our local workers to carry one window frame to the site. And of course they carried it there the Ghanaian way, on there heads! Once the windows were onsite, it became a total group effort to lift the massive frames up onto the concrete sill. (On a quick sidenote, I really must admit what a great group of local workers we have helping us. Even with the blazing heat and heavy physical labor, these guys are always helping move the project along while joking, laughing, and dancing the whole time. What is more encouraging is that they are understanding the overall design and taking particular care in even the most minor of details) With the window frames in place we could continue ramming our Earth walls and keep the construction in motion.
Weekends are often the time to venture outside of Abetenim and travel throughout the rest of Ghana. Sometimes though after such long and hard work weeks it’s also good to keep it low key in the village and just chill. That’s exactly what this past weekend was for the ARCHITEACH team. The weekend consisted of doing laundry, going to the market, hunting chickens with the children, playing football (soccer), and napping. Sometimes these types of weekends are necessary to recover from the long work week.
The highlight of the weekend for me was having the opportunity to play for Abetenim’s senior football (soccer) team as they traveled to the nearby village of Apemso to play a rival team. The field we played on was between the back of a schoolhouse and a forest. The field itself was on a slightly sloped terrain with two bamboo goals at either end. Fans of both teams were supporting from the edge of the school house just outside the boundaries of the field, but by the end of the match were standing in the field during play! If you were to see the local supporters and experience the atmosphere, you would have thought it was a championship match. I played the #7 position or outside right midfielder.
My Abetenim debut was almost marked with a long range goal, but unfortunately cleared off the goal line just before going in. I was still greeted on the sidelines with high fives and pats on the back for my performance in the match. In the end Abetenim played well but could not find a winning goal as the game ended in a 1-1 draw. By far the most memorable moment from the whole experience had to be riding on the back of a flatbed truck to and from Apemso with the entire Abetenim team. The whole ride was filled with songs and chants in Twi as we sat/stood on the back of the truck dodging low hanging branches and trying not to fall off. I’ve been on many team bus rides but I will definitely remember this team ride to/from Apemso for a long time.
I’m sure by now you are still wondering about the title of this week’s blog post. Youtube the song “Fall” by Davido, a Nigerian artist, and listen to the lyrics.
Nice one there!