This ought to be the last week of ramming! It has started with the strongest willing of seeing the walls done and to begin the roofing, though the wood is yet to be delivered here at the site.
Dr. Mantey, our consultant and friend from the Art Department of KNUST is coming to the site very often, always kept up to date about the working progress.
This time he came with his son and his son’s drone. The children were crazy about it, laughing and shouting all over the time. It was a great chance to see the village from the sky down and take some amazing pictures of the project.
All together we went to Opoku’s house. Surprisingly, Mantey already met the guy almost two years ago, when they both collaborated with Anna Webster, an english student who organised a workshop with Nka at the site to build a sustainable housing prototype. He remembered Opk and his strong interest in earth building techniques such as rammed earth. After that experience he sold the cement blocks he made for a new house to use rammed earth instead. However, the timber formworks are still quite expensive and he couldn’t afford them. He now realizes the metal formworks actually reduces the overall cost, plus red soil and small cement sand which are still very affordable.
On Wednesday morning we also tested different method to avoid plastic wrapped formworks . It was time for lubricant, that we found at the fitting shop in Juaben, which can be quickly sprayed on the internal surface before ramming each layer. The result was better than any other oil but not excellent. Further, it is not environmental and cheaper, then barely to be reproduced by locals.
The next day we went to the forest along with Opk to cut and start collecting some babadua canes. The forest can sometimes be hostile if you are not called Opoku, who felt way more comfortable and trained than us to recognize babadua in between all that dense vegetation and to walk and jump through it.
Friday 23, Mattia, Sara, Linda and Paolo came back to the forest to cut more babadua, though the project will need a lot to cover many parts of windows and external walls that we left no rammed on purpose.
The 4th level is finally done and the team started the T section up to the last level. 2 T sections done on Friday and, unless the rain stop us, we will finish the walls early next week.
After a day off, we had to arrange more space within the patio to ram the sidewalk walls all over the perimeter. We dug the top soil out and brought more red soil, then compacted it to have a strong and stabilezed level.