Here on the right is when we just started to dig for the foundations. I took a couple of volunteers, Tyler and Scott along with me to help out. We accomplished a lot and they were a real help. Adam got stuck in too!
This is Bonge. He is my new builder and the one who is making sure his workers are doing everything properly. He's very experienced and extremely thorough with his work. His English is okay too which is a bonus. This large stone which he is stamping down on is the first stage for laying the foundations. He lets me know all of the materials we need, and also makes sure that we get them all at a good price. He's cheap, and great!
Throughout the day we made six trips to a near by brick makers to collect three hundred bricks. We didn't intend to use them on that day but it was best that they were on the site in the morning so the builders could start straight away. This car, who I borrowed of my friend Mike, did us good for the day. We had a few issues counting sometimes as it got a bit confusing with people stacking them up, but we got there in the end. It was very tiring driving back and forth!
Around five o'clock most of the foundations were finished. I was completely knackered by this point but the builders kept going, I appreciate their hard work so much. Especially in the heat, I couldn't do what they do!
After finishing the foundations, today we started to lay the first few bricks. I got stuck in and helped for an hour or so before I had to organise buying materials. You can really see the shape of the house now. We had to change it a little due to cutting costs but it will still work great for Mama Dora and her children.
Here the builders are fitting iron bars on top of the first few bricks before covering them in cement. This is to completely solidify the foundations and make sure the house is stable. The scenery is stunning in Duka Bovu, I would love one day to have my own house in a similar place. It was so clear today that you could see Kilimanjaro in the distance past Mt Meru. I will try and get a picture tomorrow.
It wasn't long until we were all the way up here. The builders work extremely fast. The house started to take shape so quickly and I was really impressed with the progress. What a beautiful place to have a house!
Two days later and we were ready to start the lenter foundations. Behind these rented planks of wood, we place iron bars and cover them in cement, similar to as we do at the bottom of the house. This secures everything and makes sure it can withstand the weight of the roof.
Here is the start of the toilet and shower room. Twice the size of Mama Mary's toilet it will serve as both a shower and a toilet. The builders dug down a few feet deep before building some basic foundations around the side. We will dig this toilet twelve feet deep. Some volunteers helped dig last Wednesday and we managed to get to about five feet down. Seven more feet to go.
After finishing the lenter foundations, the builder continued to lay bricks and form triangles on each corner in preparation for the roof. I love this photo, It's so beautiful. One day I'll live somewhere with scenery like this!
These are the roofing materials. It doesn't look like much, and I admit it is very simple, but it isn't half expensive. I spent way over two million tsh on this pile here, that's over eight hundred pounds. The vehicle which dropped them off got a puncture on the way so we were running a little late. We still managed to get some work done and prepared to start the roof the following day. I cut myself moving some of the iron corrugated sheets so didn't do much for the rest of the day!
I love the way Bonge works and thinks. He prepared the angles for the roof the day before started, enabling the builders to crack on straight away in the morning. Some of the meausurements were a little bit off so we had to make some small adjustments today but nothing too big! You can see more buildings coming up just behind the photo. Rural areas are growing up very fast. We'll have to look pretty far out to find another bad house in a rural area.
This is Adam. He is the guy that I work very closely with on the ground here in Tanzania. He helps me with everything. Communication, getting good deals, ideas for future projects, meeting important people and so on! He's a really asset to our team and we appreciate his work so much! Here Adam is posed nicely on top of the wall whilst the builders complete the timber frame for the roof.
Here is how I left the project today. Timber roof frame finished, so tomorrow, although it's a Sunday, we'll start putting the iron corrugated sheets on top. After that, Mama Dora's house is already habitable. Few more steps, finishing aspects, and we are done!
This is me stood at the bottom of the outside toilet. Two volunteers, Bryan and Grady helped me to dig a few more feet down this morning to finish it off. It's dirty and uncomfortable work but at the same time very enjoyable, especially in the right company. This is now around twelve feet deep, and now ready to finish off with some foundations and wire mesh across the top. In a few days it will be complete.
This was the first window to go in. After measuring the sizes left in the wall, we have them especially made by a local welder. They aren't the cheapest of things, but I do like the way they look. We'll paint them black soon, and obviously put the glass in. That will have to wait until all of them are in place. I had to hire the watchman for another night to keep an eye on the windows and doors, as without setting properly, they would be extremely easy to steal.
With the roof finished, it's now just a matter of plastering and fitting all of the windows. I'm still astonished with how quickly the house has gone up, and every time I see it I'm proud to have nearly finished my second one.
With the plastering on the front of the house finished, we fitted the doors, ventilation brackets and the glass. Unfortunately Mama Dora wasn't best pleased with the doors and windows being painted black, I'm not sure if it's something to do with her religion but we've done it now, so we can't really go back. We'll give them another coat in the next couple of days and then move on to giving the outside plaster a nice finish.
This is how the house is looking at the moment. Max visited this past week and was happy to see how well the house had come up. We spent most days visiting the project in the morning to make sure everything was going okay and they had enough money for materials.
This was the toilet as I left it yesterday. We had to buy some extra bricks to build it up but all of the other materials needed are there. After digging up, will break through the cement and fit the basin, or squat as it's better known as in the UK!
This was the final wall to be plastered. I had to get another builder to finish this one off due to some complications with the other two. It wasn't too much of a problem though and we got it finished by the end of the day.
Here Bonge applying the Gypsum paste to the walls. This is the Tanzanian equivalent to the neat plaster finish which we do in the UK. You mix the powder with water, until it becomes a thick paste, and then apply it to the walls. Once dried, you sand it down and then it's ready to be painted over.