Back to work on Sunday, changing the formwork sections from T to L and I, in order to start quikly the next day. We took lot of time to clean up and change the plastics. Likewise, we tested different surfaces inside the formwork, using solid tape and empty cement bags as an alternative to the plastic sheets. After that, we tried to ram two pieces and the result was not so bad though.
Monday 12 it was Muslim holiday, this is why we didn’t work but the village was very crowded and loud, so we took a walk around.
Thanks to Mr. Frank we met Opk, a man who is building a small house for his family at Abetenim. He has already started the concrete foundations but he ran out of money and stopped. However, he is now willing to continue the construction and Frank is convincing him to use rammed earth. Actually, Opk worked two years ago here at the site for another project, designed by Anna Webster. During that period he got interested in this earth technique, this is why he agrees to build his building in that way.
We all came out with the decision to help him before leaving, bringing the metal formworks there as soon as we finish the walls. A new challenge has been taken up but we strongly believe that the distance between the Nka Foundation’s site and the village needs to be reduced, as well as the rammed earth technique to be exported among people as an affordable method, nothing special made by foreigners and far from their possibilities but local and already in their cultural background. Opk’s rammed earth house will hopefully set and spread a new standard of living, achievable through a cheap, sustainable community building process.
It was very inspiring to noticed with Frank how some old structures at the village had ceilings and walls made out of babadua, a local plant similar to bamboo but thinner. The sticks were tied and used combined with red earth. Compared to other plants, babadua endures more against termites and outdoors, this is the reason why it was traditionally used in the past. We will definetely try to reuse this material and add it into our design.
This week a new worker came to help us, called Bogie. The guys are becoming tired but they are strong and the work will be finished very soon. In fact, the 4th level was completed and the 5th level started on Friday 16.
Opk came to the site to see the formworks and the whole setting process.
Moreover, we are waiting for the 2×6 inches wooden boards we ordered last week, to start cutting the structural frameworks of the roofing.
Unfortunately the rain is threatening us more during the last period, wasting some working days, even though August was the wettest month in this region and it didn’t rain very often.
On Sunday 18 there was enough free time to visit a bit more the sorroundings. Many beautyful places can be reached in few minutes from Abetenim. An interested spot for its wildlife is called Bobiri. As a forest reserve , it is well known for the several butterfly species you can watch there, as well as the tour of old trees, many of them about 100 years old and even more. Despite it was not the right season for butterflies, the guided visit was worth it a lot.