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View Article  Back Home

It's back to work and normaility for me now.  I had to leave before the review meetings, but know that the aim will be to return again in September 2009 to build more houses in Mfeleni.  So ...for the experience of a lifetime, how about coming with me next time?

View Article  Friday

We rushed around Friday.  Our crewleader had gone down sick and after I got back on site (after an important meeting ;) I was replacement crewleader.  Of course with such a wonderful team they readily accepted my excuses for lateness and newly elevated position(Archbishop's office eh Roger?  A likely story!  If you want to rejoin the team, you'll need to be re-initiated....). 

The carpenters turned up and put the doors in and fitted the locks.  We fitted the external fascias, pointed up the roof, did some more blocking up of the internal walls and then stopped for the dedication ceremony.  (Just as the glaziers turned up).  The camera and video crew turned up again and after Gemma and Rachel had posed, we gathered in a circle.

I asked Quondile and Nosethu to stand to my right with thier eldest son, Yanelisa.  I said a few words and then passed the key, with each person saying something to the family before passing it on.  It was an emotional moment, a family who have been living in a shack for as long as they can remember finally getting a decent home to live.  It what we had come to do, but what nobody realised was how much we would learn from them. 

View Article  Surveyors Building Decent Homes

Tim Bell MRICS of Glass House Properties and Roger Chisnall MRICS of Aitchison Raffety, both working for companies in the RICS East of England, take time out for a quick pose with the team leader.  The house is approximately 45 sqm and built of single skin blocks and concrete interlocking tiles.

View Article  Thursday...Roof Day

What a team!  Back on target, we get the trusses lifted up onto the roof, secure them in place.  Lifting those tiles onto the roof is hard work!  Two tiles together weigh about 14kg, and the sand gets in your eyes as you do it.  How I ache!!!  Gemma did most of the work, or so you would believe from the number of photos the camera crew took of her.  Just 'cos she's cute ...huh!  Well while Gemma posed, the rest of us got on with the real work.  We laid the last few tiles, put the ridge tiles in position to mortar down in the morning ...and celebrated!  Standing on top of that roof and looking around the township at the 22 other roofs with people on, was awesome.  What a feeling.  What did you do today?  We put the roof on a house in a township in Mfeleni.

View Article  Wednesday

Day 2 and should be Day 3!  We have to get the walls to 12 courses high today on at least the side walls, so that the dugha (concrete) can set overnight and take the weight of the roof.  We have a cracking team and finish to time!

Here's a photo of Quondile our homeowner with Asakhe his two year old daughter.  I saw her tottering around in her Mums shoes just like any other little girl does.  (I have a feeling my brother did this too but thats another story!) I went to take a photo and she got shy until Dad stepped in!  Quondile was amazing!  We usually find ourselves building with the women, they run the families and the townships, but on Wednesday Quondile arrived and pitched in with mixing Dugha, passing blocks and doing all the tasks that needed to be done on-site.  He worked until we finished at about 4.30pm, and then announced he was off to work the night shift at the garage from &pm until 7am.  He was on site Thursday morning and worked all day again and told me he was working again that night.  I asked when he would sleep and he said "When the house is built".  It goes without saying he worked all day Friday and as we left for the closing ceremony he insisted on staying to use the last of the Dugha to build a 'Stoop' or front step.  It's truly humbling working with people like Quondile.

Heres a few photos of some of the other children who seemed to like the AR hard hat!

View Article  We're Here!!

Sorry there have been no postings to date.  We ran into some bad weather at the beginning of the week which has put us behind, and we have been catching up since!  A quick update and I'll try and do more overnight tonight.


I arrived onsite on Friday morning, having been picked up by Stuart Hendry from Habitat South Africa from the airport and taken straight there.  Nothing like hitting the ground running!  We drove around the township and immediately the sense of extreme poverty hit me.  People scratching out a living, the street vendors selling food, and so many shacks.


There are changes.  There were very few children playing in the streets, as most of them are now at school.  The Government has been putting more and more resources into education, and the changes are starting to notice.  We checked the sites over for health & safety (razorwire, deadly electrics) to make sure the volunteers would be OK and enjoy thier build.  We made a plan!


The coach leaves in 20 mins and I haven't had breakfast yet, so I'll post a day one photo and finish later.


We had the walls up to 8 courses high on Tuesday, 12 last night and we're ready to put the roof on, I'll catch up with the blog soon!!




Llangha and Sibongile get the iron profiles in place while Ben poses around in his shorts.


Sabbie, Rachel and Gemma shelter from the rain under the scaffold.


Ian and Llangha sheltering ...after about 20 mins we were back building, and that was the last we saw of the rain!