Project Progressing Well
We embarked on our second journey out to Dongi Dongi with Stav on board to pick up where the first shift of our mission team left off. The program for the next two days was to dig a trench around the pathway dug out last week as drainage for the runoff from the roof and the higher ground behind the new building. It was great to reconnect with the Corps Officers of the Boya Lentora Corps who have graciously hosted us in their home and have blessed us with their hospitality.
After a great lunch we walked back up the hill to be yet again amazed by the progress of the builders in just a few days. Two thirds of the timber cladding on the front wall was completed, the rest of the required bricks were made and the internal brickwork was moving along at a rapid pace. We set to work on digging the trench along the rear path and were moving along at an equally fast pace until we encountered a succession of buried rocks! These rocks kept appearing in pairs and were big!! Unfortunately, my determination to remove these obstacles resulted in breaking the handle of one of the only two shovels onsite. This significantly slowed down the pace for the afternoon as we improvised by using other building materials laying around to lever out the offending rocks. Our improvisation didn't end there; with a half full water bottle being used as a level, a long piece of ribbon used as a string line and borrowing the builder's tape measure to ensure the fall of the trench was correct for effective drainage. By the end of the afternoon the trench was complete, leaving the side trench for the next morning.
The Dongi Dongi area has recently had power lines installed along the main road, but does not yet have electricity connected. This means that the residents of this area (who can afford it) rely on portable generators for their power needs. The quarters we stayed in only ran their generator between 6:00 pm and 9:00 pm, resulting in early nights in an electronic device free zone. I must admit that it was somewhat liberating sitting around enjoying as much conversation as we could given the language barrier and the natural environment, without the distraction of a cyberworld.
We made an early start the next morning to give Stav an opportunity to witness the children in the classrooms of the old building. This time the classes were full, giving the full impact of the unsuitability of the current school. With this vision fresh in our minds, we got stuck into the days work, digging the last trench by morning tea and collecting river pebbles from around the building site to fill the trenches to assist with drainage by lunchtime.
It seems we finished the trenches way faster than anticipated, prompting us to return to Palu after lunch, half a day earlier than planned.