Our second week here in Abetenim was filled with new learning experiences for all involved as our team focused on preparing for the concrete pour to complete the classroom foundation. The goal for the week was to build and fit the formwork for the first 4 of 8 angled corners of the classroom design. Those of you who are familiar with the construction field know that more often than not, many unforeseen site conditions and material delays have a way of altering the construction schedule. Constructing in Abetenim is no different. With a delay in the second half of our wood delivery, we took the opportunity to have half the team dig a drainage trench to divert the rain water which flows down onto our site. The other half of the team was tasked with fitting the one corner formwork assembled the previous week. This proved to be a learning opportunity for everyone involved as the team was challenged with placing the formwork into the 24” wide foundation trench.
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Ultimately more of the Earth on the sides of the trench foundation had to be removed to allow the formwork to sit leveled, creating much more work than originally anticipated. Although the amount of time spent on fitting the one corner formwork increased, the team recognized how to efficiently fit the next corner formwork. The following day, we received the second wood delivery. Again, we split into two teams. One team was responsible for assembling the formwork offsite and the other team was responsible for fitting the formwork on site. Learning from the mistakes of the previous day immediately helped the team’s efficiency. By the last working day of the week, the team was able to fit the final two corner formworks before lunch! We were able to reach our goal of placing 4 corner formworks onsite by the end of the week - all the while improving our team efficiency.
Off the construction site, we continued to immerse ourselves into the Ghanaian culture. Speaking with the other design teams here in the arts village, we learned of an open air market held every Tuesday in the nearby village of Juaben. While some of the team members chose to walk the 3km to Juaben, 5 of us decided to pack ourselves into a taxi. To have better idea about how packed the taxi was, imagine me literally holding the backdoor shut the whole ride…Once in Juaben the team bought avocados, bottled water, bananas, ginger, and coconuts amongst the several venders. I, however, was on the search for a local tailor who I could give traditional fabrics which I had bought previously in Effuduase. There are several tailors in Juaben, however we were directed to one which was recommended by others in the arts village. Once there he took my measurements and I gave him two different fabrics to be tailored into shirts for 25 Ghana Cedi each (roughly 6USD!). I am excited to see the result when I go pick up the final product later this week. Something tells me this will not be the last time I visit him.
After a long, but successful work week the team hired a tro tro to take us the Lake Bosomtwe for a weekend of R and R. A change of scenery was much appreciated. The legend is told that a traveling warrior was guided to the lake by an antelope so he may feed himself with the several fish in the water. On our way back from the lake we made a stop at a large modern mall in Kumasi which had all the food and common items we are accustomed to in the US and Europe. It even had a place to buy a burger! Can’t explain enough how good that burger tasted.
Just as expected, week two was filled with many new experiences, laughs, and additional learning opportunities which help us all fully ingrain ourselves into the rich Ghanaian culture.
Word of the Day
Bosomtwe (Antelope sent by the Ancestral Gods)
Peace, Love, and Biscuits