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I leave my house for work and get called over by two village women awaiting their chance to do business with the chief. The first smiles...

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Chicken Coop Construction: Weeks 2-4

Week Two:
The view from the door includes a...floor!
Although I was away from site for the second week of construction, the building team was eager to move forward. Unfortunately, as they prepared to begin putting on the roof, they discovered we did not have enough cement bricks remaining to elevate the high side of the roof.

They send me a message letting me know and attempted to get the women in my organization to come up with a solution. Bricks and other building supplies are, apparently, an exception to the Basotho tradition of borrowing things that are needed. As a result, no bricks could even be ordered until the morning I returned, five days after it was determined we needed fifty more bricks.

The guys did break with building tradition though, pouring the concrete floor even though the roof was not yet in place. They even created a step up to the door, which was a pleasant surprise for me.

Week Three:
Week Three started with me buying more bricks. When asked, the brick-makers assured me that they would deliver within the week, but probably on Monday. This would mean that the work could be completed on either Monday or Tuesday. My host brother and I stressed the importance of receiving the bricks as soon as possible so we could finish work before he and other students had to return to school.

Constructing the beams for the roof
Mother Nature decided to surprise Lesotho with precipitation on both Monday and Tuesday, so the bricks never materialized. Throughout the week, we kept an eye out for them. Finally, on Saturday afternoon, they arrived.

Week Four:

Although I was at (another) Peace Corps workshop in anticipation of the upcoming Pre-Service Training, the team got to work after the bricks arrived. When I returned home on Friday, I hopped out at the building site to check in and see their progress.

Surprisingly, the fifty bricks I bought two weeks earlier were not actually enough to finish things up. I learned that we would need 32 more bricks! Anticipating another long walk to the brickyard and a lengthy delay waiting for delivery, I was a disappointed.

Our need for only these 35 bricks had the potential to slow
the project down by another week or two!
I stopped by my supervisor’s house and spoke with the MCCC members there. We started brainstorming people in the village who might have some extra bricks we could buy instead. By the time I left, my supervisor had agreed to ask her son if we could buy his. Saturday morning, I headed over to learn if I needed to hoof it to the brickyard before they closed at one.

Thankfully, my supervisor’s son was thrilled to sell us 35 bricks he had leftover from a previous project. He kept telling me that I was actually helping him more than he was helping us (lies!). As a result, Week Five will dawn with a Sunday workday and the guys anticipate being done by Tuesday afternoon. 

MCCC’s Egg Laying Chicken Project has been in development since March 2015. After many delays, MCCC and I were able to write a successful grant proposal for a VAST grant through Peace Corps. VAST grants are funded by PEPFAR to help with HIV-related work and OVC (Orphan and Vulnerable Children) care. It is due to MCCC’s work with OCVs that qualified us for the VAST grant. Otherwise, we would have applied for a PCPP [Peace Corps Partnership Program] grant and would have been asking for assistance in funding this grant proposal. I encourage you to consider supporting other PCPP projects.

Posts about this project include:

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