Another week another step closer to completion; although we still have to squint hard to see the finish line.
If you've been keeping up with our writings, you've probably noticed that over the last couple of weeks we each have had mixed emotions about everything from the construction to the stay and the food. I'll admit it isn't always easy with the physical work, the heat and the repetition; but I've learn to take things in strides, change up my routine and remember the bigger picture of why we are here. At times I catch myself smiling, still in slight disbelief that I've been living in Ghana and building a classroom for the last three months.
The week began with four new arrivals to the arts village family. The first being Lorin, our final volunteer and a good friend of mine from college. I was so excited to see Lorin that I practically tackle hugged her when she arrived. The other new arrivals were three of the cutest baby goats ever. Although our volunteer numbers may be dwindling the number of animals around keeps growing.
Construction is moving along and the building is really starting to take its shape as we are roughly 70% through building the walls. The rammed earth is a faster process than some other techniques but it requires A LOT of manual labor and tons of material. While the local workers are ramming the walls we have been working on the formwork for the columns and concrete ring beam, building bookshelves and designing the windows and roof system.
The final pour for the columns was completed this week and when we removed the last piece of formwork I'm pretty sure we all collectively had a moment of celebration. Lifting, placing and nailing large pieces of wood 11 feet up in the air, in the Ghana heat, is something I won't miss.
The bookshelves and windows were on task for this week, and of course waiting for another delivery of wood for the roof structure. Our largest order at 280 pieces of hardwood certainly took a chunk out of our remaining budget. We spilt up into two build teams in order to move things along. Steve and I worked on the bookshelves for an entire day of what seemed like endless amounts of hand sawing. You'd think that working in the shade would make you sweat less, but nope.
Now that the shelves are in and the windows have a design you get a better idea of what it will look like once it's done. The next step (or 10 steps) will be to build and place the windows and doors, pour the floor slab, build the roof and level out the landscaping. Easy enough, right?!
The evenings and weekend moved at a slower pace this week. Conversation, poker games and movies filled up the nights, while Friday afternoon we found ourselves watching the clouds roll in hoping for a good rainstorm. The water wasn't running at that time and the guys really wanted to take a shower outside after working in the dry heat all day. Once we realized what we were actually doing we had a good laugh. When was the last time you spent an afternoon watching the sky; makes you think about slowing life down every once in a while.
On Saturday, Lorin, Fanny and I went to Kumasi to the Kejetia Market to do some fabric shopping. No matter how many times I go to that market, there's always something new to see. The fabric section is huge! and we spent a decent amount of time weaving in and out of the stalls piled with fabric higher than one could reach. I ended up buying another fabric and told myself it would be my last one. I finally went to the tailor and dropped off eight different pieces to be made into clothing. I've had my fingers crossed since in hopes that all my pieces turn out as I imagined.
As the days creep into November and I find myself saying goodbye to more and more volunteers leaving the community, I wonder if this three month project will turn into four? And although I'm looking forward to it completed; I'm not yet ready to leave this place, the people that have become friends and the experience that has changed me...
So check back in to see how it turns out.
Word of the Week
Momayenko - Let's Go