Monday. A new day, a new week, and a new dam site to work
on. The site at Nzyee was a dam improvement, not a ‘dam-from-scratch’ scenario;
but that did not mean it would be a small task. The dam required heightening,
widening and thickening to improve its effectiveness for the local community.
It took a bit of time to adjust to the new faces at the site and the different
methods that came with them, but it was also the fallout from two days of
lounging about that caused our progress to stutter at first – we needed to get
back in the flow or see our schedule fly out the window.
Later on in the week, we all became more proficient on the
dam site with our effort and productivity increasing each day, despite several run-ins
with irritable and perhaps confused fundis and ‘dragon-ladies’. We had a pile
of cement ready to roll that then had to be rescued after the intervention of
the broad-grinned fundi; also, our assistant team leader was left fuming after
having a wheelbarrow of sand emptied on the ground in front of her moments
after filling it, and then being ordered to “Fill It.”
Arriving on Thursday morning provided a sight to spur the
team on; some of the shuttering on the dam had been removed, revealing our hard
work for all to see on the completed sections of the dam. However, more work
was to be done with the wings and some of the main body of the dam still to be
completed – admiration would have to wait until later. Cement mixing dominated
on Thursday, with pranks being pulled and wisecracks being made to take minds
off the sometimes tiresome task; the sand being dug out from beneath people’s
footing a popular choice (except with the victim!). Despite this, good progress
On Friday we returned to Malaika, where we worked last
week, to check on the progress that had been made and to make any contribution
we could. It felt good from the moment we arrived, seeing familiar faces and
how much the site had changed; the dam had grown significantly since we had last
seen it. The day was the hottest we’ve had and gruelling with never-ending
piles of cement being mixed and then thrown into the shuttering which was about
12 feet high. Cold sodas all round when we got back to Mtito were like nectar.
Saturday presented more of a mixed bag with site work at
Nyzee taking over the morning and then a football match between the Quest
All-Star XI (with a little help from African Sand Dam Foundation staff) and the
local Nyzee side. We managed to complete the dam by early afternoon which was
really satisfying and meant our beans at lunchtime had never tasted so good.
The football match was fairly close, with defensive errors and a missed penalty
ultimately deciding the outcome. We lost 2-1. Not so all-star after all… As
well as that, Saturday marked the halfway point of our time working on dam
sites, which meant a halfway celebration was needed – especially as we’d fully
completed a dam inside 7 days.
Sunday was our rest day with the group invited to another
Church this week – the pastor didn’t send a cheeky text halfway through like
last week. We then saw two goats being slaughtered for our lunch at Tindi’s
family farm (Tindi is our motherly figure at the compound). After a delicious
meal of barbecued goat, goat and potato stew, goat intestines and vegetables,
we were given a tour of the farm. We then headed back to the shamba for a few
hours of pure relaxation before dinner, bed and a new dam site.