Monday, November 12, 2012

And we're off...

Over the last few days we have accomplished quite a bit.  After finding out that the road to Washo was not fit for massive Ethiopian dump trucks, we were forced to begin work in Azedebo.  Washo is still very much in the works, it will just take a few more weeks of human power to effectively adjust the road.   Since we arrived in AzeDebo on Saturday we were able to finalize the land agreements and find living arrangements for myself and my support staff… and that was before todays huge accomplishments.

Today, Temesgin Ijigu and I spent our morning conducting critical meetings with community leaders, local government/school officials and village elders.  The meetings went very well, all those involved were very happy with the scope of the initial project, and were happy to hear that ER plans on using the school as a platform for many future programs in the area.  The village elders were especially happy to her that ER will be reaching out to include the village elders and community leaders to assist in guiding the administration and sustainment of the AzeDebo school. The meeting concluded with many of the participants joining Ejigu, Temesgin and I in talking through ER’s expectations for all those in the community that wished to become a ER temporary worker.  The community was happy to hear that nearly all of the 180 individuals that showed for the meeting would have the chance to work with ER for at least a week, while the best workers will be asked to join an “all-star” work force to streamline the final 8 weeks of the build.

During our meetings, four members of the schools security and farming staff (they have an impressive amount of farming on the property) were asked to begin clearing the KG/library land of corn stalks, and bramble.  By the time we finished our meetings the work was almost complete.  We spent a good hour cutting and shaping stakes and then the three of us were able to start the mapping the school layout.  Using a variety of colors of neon plastic string, hammer, and a 50 meter measuring tape,  Ejigu , Temesgin and I carefully measured out schools walled perimeter, each of the schools buildings and its respective classrooms.  As many as a hundred students and adults watched in mostly confusion, as we measured and measured again, to make sure that each class was no more than a couple centimeters off square at most.  The final product really gave the onlookers a useful representation of the buildings to come.  Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get on a roof or into a tree to take a photo.

Now that the perimeter site lines are in place, digging begins tomorrow at 8 am.  20 people, 12 men and 8 woman will work together to make a sizeable dent in the nearly 200 post holes.  Each of which will be dug to at least 80 centimeter (depending on the use of the submerged material).  We are thinking all that digging will be done by the weekend.  The schools perimeter wall should start going up as early as Monday.  Not bad for a first week in the town.

The following photos provide some images of today’s activities.  And if anyone is wondering why the blog is so inundated with panoramic shots is because they load in about 12 minutes, while the others take more than twice as long… and their awesome.  But we all already knew that.

The build site
Ijigu leading a conversation with the village elders

Ijigu and Temesgin talking through the contract with some of the nearly 200 potential workers

Preparing for staking the land

Temesgin leading the way with some assistance from the community

Got to love their getups

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