Mama Mary's Photo's


 Mama Mary holding her Granddaughter, with other children from the local area hanging around. This was a couple of days after I had arrived, and just as the building of the house had begun. I'm sure you can see how happy she is!


The second day into the project, and the foundations are completed. First they turned the soil, to make it easier to dig for the foundations. Then they filled them with moram (which is essentially dirt), flint stone and then cement. It started to take shape really quickly, and I was so impressed with how quickly the builders were working. 
After having a big argument with the truck driver, and threatening not to pay him in full, he eventually delivered the breeze blocks in the right place. Which was close enough to the house so that the builders didn't have too much work carrying them from A to B! 
The red pile of dirt is the Moram, and the stones beside it are flint. 
Each brick costs about 900tsh, which is about 40p. It doesn't sound like much, but it adds up when you need two lorry loads! 


With the foundations finished, the first few bricks are
laid down, and the shape of the house starts to become a little clearer. The room closest to me will be the front room/cooking area. The room directly above it will be the main bedroom, and the one on the right of that will be the second bedroom. 
A few other volunteers from the school, and a lady who runs a local NGO came to visit the project and see how it was coming along. Walls finished, next stage was fitting lenter wood, then a layer of steel rods filled with cement to secure the top of the build.
 Mama Mary in her new front room and kitchen to be (right)!I was really impressed with the builders progress. They had finished all of this after just seven days. Mama Mary was understandably pretty happy with the progress, too! On the left they are preparing the steel rods to place on top of the walls.


Possibly a slight health and safety risk here? One thing I love about Africa is how everybody seems to lead a care-free lifestyle. The layer of dark cement is where they fitted the steel rods. 



In this picture you can see the layers of lenter wood beneath the steel rods. Kiara, the main builder, in the white shirt on the right is measuring the size of the windows, so he can order the steel frames to fit. 


A few days later, and after paying for the roofing materials, the builders cracked on, and had finished the timber frame after a day and a half. I climbed up and sat with the builders for a while, the work they were doing was a little bit too specialised for me though!
From the back of the house, you can see the roof is now finished. Covered with iron corrugated sheets, and nailed into the timber, it's the simplest and cheapest roof you can build. The house is like a mansion compared to the old one.


Veronica (front), Gloria in red, and Mama Mary, checking out there new home, and this time it has a decent roof! The next stage in the building process is the finishing aspects; fitting the windows, cementing the floors, plastering the walls, and fitting the doors. 

Below is how I left the house, before I had to leave on short notice, unfortunately due to a family emergency back in the UK.
When I go back tomorrow, I will crack on straight away with getting the house finished! Shelley, on the left, came to take some pictures before she left to go back to Australia.







Above is one of my favourite pictures. It clearly illustrates the difference between the quality of the old house and the new one! 
After a day or two of being back in Arusha, the builders began to plaster the walls. I had to pay out money for the finishing aspects before they began working again. The blue pipe in the right hand picture will be used for electrical cables once Swahilini gets electricity. It's a well thought ahead move. Hopefully in two to three years, the slum will have a source of power. Mama Mary and her family will hopefully be one of the first ones to have electricity in their home! 


Here, Vicky and Agripina are standing happily infront of the newly plastered walls in their bed room to-be. 
The next stages were cementing the floors, coating the walls with jepsam so they were ready to paint, and touching up any little things which needed doing. I decided not to buy ceiling boards just yet, as they are quite expensive and a little outside of my budget.
In this picture, one of the younger builders spent the good part of two days digging this huge pit. It's for the outdoor toilet. The idea is that the pit will be deep enough so that when the dry seasons come, the earth will suck out the waste, and there will be no risk of flooding.
 On the left, the builder is applying jepsam. I'm not sure of the exact translation into English for this product. It's very similar to a filler, and a thin layer is applied on to the plaster. It's then sanded down to make sure that the surface is completely smooth, and painted over. You can also see that he is standing on a cement floor! This was finished the day before this picture, and really made the house become whole!


This picture taken from the back of the house, shows the previous empty window frames now have lovely blue tinted glass, and have been painted black. They stand out, and personally, I think that they look really cool. One day when I have enough funds, I will finish the outside too!

This small building is the start of the outdoor toilet. After building the walls, plastering and cementing the floors, the builders will construct a small slanted roof, and fit a squat style toilet.
Below, Veronica discovered the paint rollers, and enjoyed playing with them for a good five minutes. She didn't have a clue what they were going to be used for though!















Above, Mama Mary standing in her new doorway. This will separate the kitchen and seating area from the master bedroom.

On the right, Veronica soon figured out what the rollers were used for, and cracked on to help us apply the base coat! It was a wonderful day, to see Mama Mary ecstatic throughout, and to see the house really taking shape made me feel so proud.
Here, Francisca are Mary are helping Kiara to move the old furniture into the new house. This was on Christmas Eve 2012. It was a great day for everybody, and something I had been looking forward to doing for a while now. I was worried about the weather, it had rained heavily the day before and left the ground in a bad state. If it had rained again, none of this would have happened until after Christmas.

After Mama Mary's bed had been successfully put in the new house, Francisca and Kiara helped to make the bed. They moved it to the other side of the room afterwards, as it fitted better.



With everything moved into the front room, Mama Mary and some of the children helped to make it all look nice. Veronica, Jenifer and Brightness are enjoying playing in their new home! I love how the light pours through the windows.


My mother visited Tanzania along with her husband Terry for a couple of weeks. Mainly to see my project, but it was also for their honeymoon! Although being in Mombassa and a day late for their arrival, it was lovely to see them, and taking them to the house was an honour. Mum and Terry found it quite hard seeing the poverty which some people have to live in, but overall, they enjoyed themselves a lot! Mama Mary and her children were also delighted to meet my Parents. 
Here's my Mother helping Vicky to cut the fabric to size, to cover all of the new cushions and pillows that she brought over. The children were delighted. I'd never really thought about their sleeping conditions, and it wasn't until I saw the underneath of their old bed that it really sank in. Imagine sleeping on bits of foam and breeze blocks? And still being able to wake up happy in the morning? The pillows make a big difference, they will sleep so much better now.
On the right, Mama Mary is enjoying her new doorway. Made from fabric which my Mother also brought over from the UK. And on the left, is a nice shot of their new front room, with new cushions and curtains included! The pictures don't really do it justice, and it's hard to imagine how different their life is now, but when you see it right before you, it really sinks in.
This is my close friend Max Martin. This was the first time that he met Mama Mary and her daughter Mary. It felt good for him to have seen what I had been doing, similar to when my Mother came. Max was impressed with the house.


This is the vegetable garden where Mama Mary is growing beans, maze, spinach and cabbage. It's helping the family a lot as they don't have to rely on buying their own vegetables. Mama Mary is especially good at gardening! It's all come together!


 The stand started to take shape really quickly. Adam was assisting aligning the timbers and Bonge's assisting was fitting everything together. They are good builders, and I trust them more than Kiara who I used for Mama Mary's house. 


Mama Mary's reaction was great as always. On her right is a butcher's shop, and across the road is a guest house. It's a perfect location to be selling vegetables. When people have bought meat and they need some vegetables too, they just go right next door and get it from Mama Mary! 




This was Mama Mary yesterday. She's selling onions, chilli's, bananas, oranges, potatoes, spinach, lettuce, avocado's and more! Soon, if she can save enough money, she will start to cook casava on the side. It's a popular local snack.

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