Sunday, July 31, 2011


Last week the pace slowed down a bit without the extra help from the team, and lost time due to rainy weather.  The brick work reached ring beam height by end of the week.

This week the focus was on forms for the columns and getting the concrete poured into them. We lost a day of work this week due to the truck that was going to deliver gravel Friday broke down with troubles to the gear box, and was still not fixed by Monday. Tried to get another truck to deliver by Tuesday but this is Africa, the guys were given the day off.  The delivery didn't make it till well after three and wasn't unloaded till about six because it got stuck, not surprising.

The columns were all poured and ring beam forms have been started.

Sunday, July 17, 2011


Its been a great week with the team from Providence church in Pennsylvania staying on the TI compound. They were working with the Neema and Shimo girls, and helping with the construction of the new classrooms which they had done the fund raising for. Thanks to the extra help that came from the team all the windows have been set and the walls are almost up to the ring beam. The lumber for the trusses is now on site and they will start to be made soon.

Its unbelievable how close the relationships with people can become in such a short time when living in a close community. Sharing devotions in the morning, experiences of the day in the evening and all the laughs while breaking bread together. I see this type of community working as the body of Christ, so much more then the institutional church that we are all familiar with, the ones that are attended once a week for about an hour. I think that the when the early church developed it would have interacted in a similar manner, which we see when reading Acts. In a discussion today it was mentioned that there could be a much larger link between the relationship that we have with one-another and the relationship that we have with God then we usually give thought to. Jesus taught that we should love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.

Honestly I'm a person that enjoys being alone in quiet, or just in small groups, but am learning that in a proper community the size of the group to some extent doesn't seem to matter. Its amazing that after just a short amount of time together with this larger group that the goodbye was still like having a part of the body being ripped from the flesh. This is something that I had experienced last year while here and there were teams that came and left every other week. Although it was made a little easier knowing that there was a new team that would be substituted for the one that was leaving.

Today the PA team headed back to Nairobi, and after an overnight there and a short safari tomorrow they will be flying back Stateside. There they will face the the struggle of being away from the community that had become more like home then home in some ways. Another challenge that they might be faced with when arriving back in the states is reverse culture shock. Something I have struggled with for years and am not sure that I will ever be able to wrap my head around, is how it is possible for people that are just barely surviving with minimal subsistence are still able to be so full of joy and happiness, while people who have been given everything they wanted from the time they were children so miserable and depressed? Sometimes I feel as Americans we can become so caught up in trying to achieve the so called American dream that we become enslaved to our possessions, status and things we think we are entitled to that we lose site of whats actually important. I know that this was something that I had struggled with for most of my life and in some cases still do.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Moving Forward

Another week and things have finally started moving at a better pace. The water lines were fixed on Saturday although when we arrived on Monday the water tank on the tower wasn't filled so water pressure was low and it took a long time to keep up with the demand of the house and construction.
The doors were made over the weekend and were ready to pickup on Tuesday. It was interesting leaving the site during the day going to town, finding a pickup truck to carry the doors back to the site. I was lucky enough to pick the most decrepit one around, it had a column shift that could barley make it into reverse. Whenever it had been shifted into third gear it would just slow down as if it was being choked out. It was hard not to chuckle at how ridiculous this vehicle was, but after about twice as long as it should of taken to get to the site and with a stop at three different gas stations along the way but the doors finally made it.

All the interior elevations were leveled out after two days of jembe work wheeling it from the high end to the low. Now the floor slab now has a good level base and be ready to go. Also worked on some landscaping to help the water flow away and around the building and not back toward it. Which was good because Thursday we got about three inches of rain in one hour and it was handled pretty well and it helped pack down all the soil, and even made some quicksand, but gave a good trial run to see how the rain water would be flowing.

Friday the team from Pennsylvania came to the site, they are also staying at TI, and will be helping out for the next week.
Monday was a day of great accomplishment with the six from PA things really got moving. I had the local masons start the morning preparing corners so that when the team got to the site they could fill in between. The doors were set after lunch and I headed to town to pick up the windows which were done and ready on Friday if I could of made it to pick them up, but with the new team working they needed the proper training before left alone.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

New Opportunities

This week started off with the guys changing the method of how we were mixing concrete to go back to the Kenyan way. With their method they put 9 wheelbarrows of sand and 18 wheelbarrows of stone in one pile then put three 50 kg bags of cement on top and pour water on a little bit of it mix that little bit together and put it in the wheelbarrow. It makes for a very inconsistent mix, some wheelbarrow are all water and stone, others are just sand and cement. After that mix, it was back to retrain them how we would be mixing for the rest of the project. One bag per pile mixed with sand stone cement and water all the way through at one time. Unfortunately we did not finish the pour Monday.

Tuesday we were able to finish the footers before lunch. It was so nice to have a self leveling laser to use to make sure the concrete was being poured nice and level. The rest of the day was spent bringing bricks closer to the building so that they would be ready to go on Wednesday. The road also needed some attention before more deliveries would be coming in so it was a good day to so some repairs on it.

Wednesday morning was spent laying out walls and putting down lines for the masons to fallow. The two ten by ten offices came up three courses today and have been back filled.

Thursday is when we found a new opportunity, upon arriving at the site I was told that there was no water. Apparently the kids at the primary school next door were doing some digging and hit the mater line. The water lines around here are in very shallow ground and are just very thin light PVC, so a child with a jembe could easily destroy it. The water company had been notified and were suppose to send someone out that day. I knew that there would be no point to keep the guys there with no water because we wouldn't get anything done. I sent them home for the day and planned on getting to town to find windows and doors before they were needed.

Friday still no water once again I had to send the guys home. With the day off I decided to go and make another visit to the orphanage that we constructed last year.