It's been one month today since the three of us arrived in the village - and it's crazy to think how fast time has passed and how much we have accomplished and experienced so far.
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As Steve mentioned last week, working on the foundation has been a trial and error process and we've had to adjust our construction schedule because of things outside our control. The larger sized pours have taken longer to dry, especially with all the rain lately. Plus the tools here aren't always very reliable. We had requested a concrete mixer in order to make the pouring process faster; but during transportation it fell off the back of the truck. SERIOUSLY! It took a week to finally get it running again. We had to move forward with the build, so the labor continued to mix the cement by hand. The guys were certainly champs as they finished the third week working on the foundation by hand.
Despite the road blocks, we can almost see the finish line for the foundation. I think the others would agree that we are all looking forward to starting the building process for the walls, and seeing the classroom take shape.
My favorite part of the work week was probably hanging out with the labor and winding down with some beers. They were just as happy as I was that it was the end of the work week (especially on a Thursday). Who doesn't love a cold beer after a hard week; regardless of what country you're in. I was able to learn more about them and their families, interests and what they thought of the project. For one, our mason and oldest worker is named Badu, which means tenth; as in he is the tenth child in his family. Imagine those family reunions!
Besides the physical construction, there are other parts of the project that we as team leaders have been working on. The schedules, materials and budgeting are just a few. This past week was the most expensive for us so far; mainly because we had large orders of materials come in. Sand, gravel and massive amounts of earth were trucked and dumped around our site; and I really mean just dumped wherever there was free space. Plus, the last few days of storms have made everything really muddy. But what can you do.
To round out the week we took a three day mini-vacation to Cape Coast in the south of Ghana. The whole team was pretty exhausted and the trip was much needed. Aside from the five hour ride in a tro-tro, the weekend was tons of fun and very relaxing. Cape Coast is known for their beaches, fishing ports, and the Cape Coast Castle. The castle once served as a fortified base for the slave trade, and is now a World Heritage Site. Dave and I took a guided tour of the castle and to imagine the horror that occurred there is inexplicable. If you ever find yourself in the area, I recommend the tour and learning more about the history behind the city. We also walked through the street markets, laid on the beach and danced the night away. Although we could've and probably would have stayed longer, it was a great reset before another work week.
When we got back to the village on Sunday, we met our newest volunteer. Fanny is joining us for the remainder of the project, and you can find out more about her on the bio section of the site. Carmen also arrived this morning!! Traveling to Ghana was a bit chaotic for her, including flight delays, train over bookings and a slight chance of not being able to enter the country. But she made it and with a good story.
Our team is getting bigger - which is good, because we have a lot of work left to do.
What apparently hasn't arrived in the village is the sun. Since we got back from Cape Coast it has down-poured at the most unexpected times. Can I go back to the beach? Currently I'm sitting here writing and waiting for the storm that started at 6:30am this morning (Monday) to pass so we can begin our work day…which moves our schedule around once again.
Next week Carmen will be taking over the blog with a new perspective, so stay tuned.
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