Thank you to Jason for this update on everything the team got up to dring their first week, they sure have been working hard!
Week 1 has been eventful as I expected but with more hard work, fun games and team bonding activities. We started the week at Ilumu where we had a look at the reserve and water tanks then set off to Malika to help collect stones (massive rocks) for the extension we would be helping with the following week. You have to be very careful as scorpions and lizards are present in dark places (under rocks or in bundles of twigs and sticks). I also have to say that the food is amazing and healthy at the same time, I know it’s not to everyone’s liking (pigeon peas) but chapattis, spinach, maize and goat is quite tasty especially after working really hard in the hot sun.
The second day we went to a community in Kipiko where we would also be returning the following week, and this was very special due to this dam being their very first. The main objective of the day was collecting giant rocks which had to be transported by a wooden ladder (some longer than others as depending on the size of the rocks more people may have to help carry it, (4 to 6 people). This was definitely a test for our muscles and stamina!
Day 3 was a very early start (4:30am) as we were working 200km away in Mwo wa Kasyleia where we would be joined by about 150 volunteers from the community, KCB (Kenya Commercial Bank), ASDF (Africa Sand Dam Foundation) and us. We worked till 3pm had some speeches which included praise due to us beating the record of 50kilo cement bags used on a dam in one day ( we used 300 beating the old record of 264) and set up our tents for the night. We made a fire and sat up looking up at the sky, which was amazing being on the equator so could see satellites going across and talked until bedtime.
Day 4 was a 6:00am start where we carried on from the day before mixing the last bags of cement and finally finished at 4pm with a total of 599 bags used and set off back to Mitito (our compound location) which took 2/3 hours and hit the sack as we had no energy from the hard work we had done.
Day 5 was the final day of our first week of work and we returned to Malika to finish the roof of the water tank which meant transporting barrows of sand and cement nearer the dam and mixing with stones, this was a lot more testing than we expected but was needed as we were returning on Monday to do the extension. We then at 4:00pm came home to buy well deserved tuskers (beer) and relaxed till bed.
Day 6/7 we were surprised by being taken to a swimming pool where we swam and played ball games which was in a nearby hotel complex, then we explored the town markets and souvenir shops. After lunch we headed to the nearby field to play football and cricket which started with about 6 local children being present then within 20min there must have been about 30 children all playing and talking with us (very surreal and welcoming at the same time). We made our way back to the compound and played some team bonding games (real life cluedo, ninja and mafia) then hit the sack as some of the team were visiting the local Christian church in the morning. Sunday was a mixture of activities as some went church whilst others used this as an opportunity to use the internet to upload photos and contact friends and family back home. What a great first week to absorb what other exciting experiences may be coming in the future weeks to come.