Thursday, December 10, 2009

Kenya Day 8

12-10 We spent the day travelling around the area with Dan, Dr. Kabachia and Pastor M. It is hot here – like Africa hot. The three of us, Dan, Tim and Mike, drank more than 12 liters of water today and that doesn’t count the sodas and chai we drank. Tim is sitting here drinking a hot cup of chai now. I think the heat has addled his brain. Mike is holding out for an ice cold Fanta black currant. When we went to shower this morning the water was cold. I never knew a cold shower could be such a blessing. We spent most of the day meeting with government officials and an architect concerning the building project we might be involved with in June. Dr. Kabachia definitely has a gift for working with people from all walks of life. We met with the various groups in the morning and all of them showed up at the building site in the afternoon. A preliminary survey was completed and the architect was able to discuss the project with the church elders and the contractor. We participated in the meeting and also discussed building techniques that work in Africa with Jason, the architect and the contractor. We believe a stone building will work best. The initial phase of the building will provide five classrooms for the school and a common area that could be used for multiple purposes including worship services. Jason suggested we use compressed stone for the building. Compressed stone is actually man made and can be made right at the building site. The stones interlock and don’t require mortar which actually saves money in the construction. There is a group in this area that has the machine to make the blocks. The architect seemed to think this was a good idea. This is just one of the differences in building in Kenya versus building in America. Another difference is the amount of work that is done by hand. Cement is usually mixed by hand and moved one shovel or wheelbarrow at a time. The slab for the building we are thinking of building would require 12 to 15 people to lay in a continuous pour. In America we would just arrange for cement delivery and have 2 to four men watch the pour into the form for the foundation and the foundation would be poured in a few hours. The block for the building will be 15.5 inches by 7.5 inches. Each block will be laid by hand and the blocks and concrete columns will form the entire structure for the building. It will take a week for four fundis (skilled laborers) to set the block for the building. The foundation and walls for the building could be completed in as little as two weeks. Have you ever seen anything built in the US in two weeks? Me neither. We also talked with Jason about tools. We formed an immediate bond. Nothing like discussing a good framing hammer to bring three guys together. Seriously though, all the people working here have a heart for the local people and a heart for the Lord. Every time I come here I feel I am at home because I have spiritual family all over Kenya. Tomorrow we are going to continue planning for the building and trying to develop a preliminary budget. We are also going to spend time with Jason, Bekkah and the Bethany interns on the ground here.

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