Sunday, January 18, 2009

Day 2 - From Chris Broadway

Our building site showing the progress from day 1.

We headed off on day 2 all the lighter for being without Brent, Katrina and the kids but still at the ungodly hour of 7:30. The day before Steve, George and I had struggled for 45 mins to put up a single window frame and were dreading the thought of putting up the remaining 12 filled us with dread. Thankfully the workers, no longer burdened with our ham-fisted efforts had managed to raise them all in the hour or so after we left. Cue mixed feelings of relief and shame.

We are now working on scaffolding as we start the higher rows

Set to work by the menacing giant Isaac we formed a chain gang to move a freshly delivered batch of bricks, somewhere in the region of 20 tonnes. George took his position at the end of the chain to stack the bricks and with Swiss precision managed to build a curved stack only equalled by the Roman aqueducts of old. A nice rest, cold drink and possibly a massage would have been great after this, but Isaac and his 20-inch machete spurred us to redouble our efforts as we moved onto brick laying. The previous days efforts had given us the skills and calluses to make light work of the laying today and we soon ripped through the 11 row required to get to the top of the window frames. I believe our biggest accomplishment was not falling backwards off the rickety scaffolding and killing ourselves or falling forwards and knocking over our beloved wall. Cue feelings of being awesome.

Ivan the machete-wielding forman

In order to avoid making the locals look bad we left the site an hour early and headed back to the hotel for a quick bevvy or 6 before again meeting our ever-present chaperone/guide Yosam for dinner. Against all our urgings for a dingy bar and roadside roast chickens we were somehow shanghaied into a Belgium restaurant where were less likely to get hammered on cheap local beer and make Yosam’s life that bit more difficult. I never thought I’d try frog’s legs for the first time in Africa, but life’s full of surprises.

This trip continues to be an eye-opening experience and one of the most meaningful of my life. Without descending onto hyperbole the Ugandans friendliest people I’ve ever met and never fail to smile and make you feel welcome, even in the face of some of the most horrific circumstances. Tomorrow we're off to the village to meet the children who will benefit from our labours, something I think will be a highlight for all of us.


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