We're currently continuing pouring the foundation and building form work to pour the cement. We are about 60% done with the foundation. The past couple of pours have had longer dry times, slightly slowing us down.
So far the workshop has been a new and different experience for each one of us, of course with over lapping ideas. For me, I previously had onsite experience directing workers, as well as the office side of both designing and project management.
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What differs here is we are working with both volunteers and local workers. The volunteers we have so far, have no prior design or construction experience so not only are we directing them as to what has to be done, but we have to explain why and answer numerous questions that they all have. This isn't a bad thing as it shows they're curious and are yearning to learn and take something out of this workshop. As for the local labor, well they have the experience already and generally know what we're looking for, but sometimes there is a language barrier.
As this is our first time hosting a workshop like this; we too have to adapt to the different culture, building materials, language barrier, and inexperienced volunteers. In our current location, we do not have a "Home Depot" where we can just run out and an hour later have lumber on site. We are adapting to the fact that it takes 1-3 weeks and in the meantime we have to generate other tasks for the volunteers. A schedule that could have worked in New York City, will definitely have to fluctuate here since the lead time for materials vary so much.
The language barrier has been a slight struggle and we have been trying to resolve it with drawings or visually showing everything with our hands as we speak. A couple of times we asked Frank, the project manager for the Nka foundation to act as our translator.
As for the German volunteers we have on site, there isn't much of language barrier. At times they speak between themselves in German to clarify for those who didn't understand. I feel like as a group we have learned from each other; they are learning about construction and design and we are learning how to teach them and also adapt to their way of learning. The first couple of weeks, confusion and discouragement surrounded the group as they didn't know why we were doing the current task at hand; there was no end goal. We adapted by making a step by step visual schedule as to where and what we'd be doing on a daily basis for an approximate 2 week look ahead. This was appreciated and definitely clarified and changed the attitude as a team in whole.
This past week we worked the weekend as well, and today (Monday) everyone seems a little out of it, but then again who isn't a little out of it on Mondays. Well stay tuned and look out for next weeks blog as this upcoming weekend we'll be traveling again to a different part of the country.
Also stay tuned for some information on 1 of our volunteers side project.