Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Back in Kololo

 It's been about a week since I returned to rock hauling and mud
squishing.  3 weeks in a blustery Serbia with family was enjoyed,
especially the good eating, but it was tough being away. Under
Ijigu's experienced eyes, work continued in my absence. And though I
was confidant that operations would largely go unaffected, I gritted
my teeth knowing that a few corners may be cut.

I am happy to share that due to continual communication between Addis
staff, Ijigu and my self,  we were able to mitigate most problems
before they arose. The works pace might have slowed, a couple
skylights were not centered, and a few doors needed to be plumbed, but
after a little time spent my first day back, most everything was
righted. The school is well on it's way to a mid to late march

Here are few photos taken with my iPhone to show off a some of our

Cababush and Tessama working together on the second coat of cob.

A view from the top of the hill the morning after we returned. All cement coating has since been applied on the schools SW side.

A close up on an exterior wall waiting for it's cement coating. Note the angle of the photo, not the windows framing make it look just a bit crooked).

The only unfinished bit of roof left on the school's three buildings. The roof will be fully completed in the next couple days.

Monday, February 6, 2012

A school with a view

When I first visited Kololo we had a basic design in mind.  But when the community decided to donate the hillside for the build... well, we had to make some minor adjustments.  The topography was not going to make the build any easier, but we were able to put the landscape to good use.  The schools library and office was pushed to the front most space in the first tier building.  As a result, we have two rooms with an amazing view of the Kololo valley.

To make the most of the view we are installing custom
2mx1m windos in the frond of the school.  The diagonal
supports transfer the weight load of the roof to the
abutting stud wall.  

A view of the nearly completed (for cob) first building.  The library is on
the left, with the office on the far right.

Some of the guys working on installing the cob lateral supports.  These
pieces better enable the cob to stick to the eucalyptus split walls.

Looking out of the library main window. While Cababush and
 family curiously look in.  

Friday, February 3, 2012

Look what I found

A not so gruesome video.

The last, and only other vid on the blog is the recording of everyones favorite trip to the Kambatan ER. This one is a little more quaint.  It was taken in the second week of excavation.  It gives a good feel for the amount of people working mostly harmoniously to move a great deal of earth.  My apologies for the video quality, Had to drop it significantly to upload it.

How far we have come.

The work crew usually is pretty talkative, and sings from time to time.  
For that minute, everyone was putting on a bit of a show for the camera.

Electronics without electricity

Obvious I know, solar.  Last spring I invested in what at the time was state of the art portable, and durable solar powered equipment.   Because of my work, the manufacturer GoalZero, was kind enough to provide a 20 or 30 percent discount (it was a while back, it’s tough to recall). In total, I purchased a briefcase shaped fold-out solar power panel, two hefty Lithium ion batteries (each weigh in around 16 pounds), two LED lamps, and a radio.  The equipment has proven pretty reliable. We have had some issues  with one of the batteries, it does not always take a charge, and for whatever reason doesn’t like charging our Ipods, but the rest has worked as the company claims.  Without it, amongst other things, we would be unable to read, listen to music, or communicate with the outside world.  We would also be using a hell of a lot of candles.  It’s the little things that make our Kololo living so lavish.  

Oddly enough, I have only a couple photos of the stuff, sorry GoalZero, no stellar product placement.  But here’s a few for more proof that were not living in the dark.

The panels stay in the sun from 730 am to 5pm.  We had to start putting up
a few strings to keep the local cattle and kiddies away.  Its a piddly fence but
it does the trick.

Daniel enjoying doro wat with one of our two batteries in
powering the light above his head.