Tuesday, 2 September 2008

The Official Handover

Monday 18th August – The Calm Before the Storm

The school had been a hive of activity all day prior to the opening. Though the actual building was complete there was a large amount of minor aesthetic jobs to be done including cleaning the excess silicon and paint off the windows, complete the sanding of the desks, washing the classroom floors, watering the new fenced grass area around the school and generally cleaning up the school. The motifs on the gable ends of the school were also finished today.

We were joined at the school by some special guests that day in the form of Mike’s mum and brother and one of the co-founders of QUEST, Mike Amphletts. There was an air of excitement all day which could not even be dampened by one or two short rain showers. The rain showers prompted a mass desk moving operation as the un-varnished desks were outside and could have been easily damaged by water. Cue the school kids who all dived in, grab desks and moved them inside. Those kids are surprisingly strong, more than one was found carrying/wearing a desk all by themselves!!

The day finished with the school mostly prepared and with just the desks to be arranged, the blackboards to be erected and the name plaques to be secured.

Tuesday 19th August – The Official Handover

The day dawned bright and clear which bode well for the opening ceremony. The small team who came out for the opening were on site early to put the final touches to the school. The plaques were screwed on to each of the classroom walls, one commemorating (in Portuguese and English) the contribution to the Millennium Project of Stephen Kimmett and the other paying homage to the family generous enough to donate the land for the school. The final plaque, positioned next to the school director’s office, explained how the school had been funded and the contribution that all the volunteers made during the construction.

This school was constructed by international volunteers from Scott Wilson working alongside Mozambique craftsmen. The construction was funded by the Scott Wilson Millennium Project in 2008’.

With this, a number of other jobs were finished including moving in the teachers desks, cupboards, shelves and staff table; as well as stocking the library with the 200 new books. After completing these tasks it was time to change out of our scruffy clothes to await the arrival of the dignitaries and for the official opening ceremony to begin. The school looked amazing with its palm leaf arches, hanging bunting, balloons and carefully laid petals in the classrooms.

At about 10:30am the first of the official cars arrived carrying some of the administrative staff who were there to coordinate the proceedings. However, the first impression they made was not a good one. The vehicle they arrived in managed to drive over some glass bottles and spread broken glass around one of the old classrooms. Bearing in mind few of the children wear shoes this was not felt to be a particularly good start, especially considering the officials complete indifference to what they had done. Still, if that was the only problem of the day it would be considered a complete success!

The admin staff went about arranging formalities for the opening. Straw mats were laid out in front of one of the classrooms, a ceremonial ribbon was hung across one of the doors and tables and chairs were readied in the shade for the crowds.

Just before 11am the children all gathered at one end of the school and began to sing in unison (well just about anyway)! It was an amazing sight to see and hear them. This seemed to herald the arrival of the big-wigs from the Mozambique Education Authority (among other agencies) and right on cue two very luxurious 4x4’s arrived at the school carrying the officials and a surprising number of people in their entourage, including reporters from national TV and local radio.

Once the officials had arrived and been introduced to everyone (imagine the Queen wandering down a line of people shaking their hands and that’s about right), the opening ceremony could begin.

The first item for the day was the blessing of the school, and offerings to the ancestors, by one of the village elders who was also a member of the family that donated the land. For this blessing all the officials sat on the straw mats outside the classroom and listened in respectful silence to the elder. His speech was a very animated affair with arms flailing, eyes rolling and even a bit of flying spittle. It concluded with the elder tipping some coconut wine on the ground in reverence of the village ancestors, smoking a cigarette and then eating some bread. Sadly much of this ceremony was lost on us as we had no one to translate the Bitonga dialect used by the community.

After this very dramatic blessing we all gathered round a classroom and witnessed one of the officials (the Provincial Director) ceremonially cutting the ribbon and declaring the school open. This was accompanied by a small drop of champagne and a tour around the new facilities.

After the tour the whole school project team, the officials, guests, teachers, children, elders, mothers and everyone else who was about gathered outside the new building for the beginning of the speeches. These were started off by Robert, one of the teachers at the school, followed by a community elder, and then by our very own John Nutt, CEO of International division, who had also come out for the opening. His speech explained a little about the background of the charity and road to taking on the project. He also thanked all those involved including QUEST and the volunteers and finished by explaining our commitment to the future of the school. During John’s speech we also officially handed over the books for the schools library and surprised Juliao (the school director) with a new bike to shorten his 2 hour walk to the school everyday. At least, we tried to surprise him but the element was slightly removed when Juliao spotted the bike the previous day! Still he seemed very happy with both the books and the bike which was the main thing.

The speeches were interspersed with a selection of the children singing songs, some of which were written for the day, singing about their new school.

The next person to make a speech was one of the main officials. As far as we could work out from the translation this involved telling the kids to look after their school and that any kids found writing on the walls would be ‘appropriately punished’. We just hope that something of the meaning of this speech was lost in translation!

The last speech to be given was by the ever-baking Fernando who, it later turned out, had been cooking for nearly two days straight without a moments sleep to provide the food. His speech was a very heart felt affair, delivered in his full Santa Claus garb as is his way and concluded with the presentation of the cakes. And what cakes! One was a reconstruction of the entire school, another was his now famous swan and little signets, a third was, bizarrely, a Barbie doll (legs and all) stuck in to the top of a big cone cake which represented the children; along with several other smaller cakes (including a cake of sticks, representing the sticks the children used to collect and carry into school every morning to cook the volunteers breakfast and lunch). At the conclusion of his speech everyone clapped their hearts out and gorged themselves on the cakes.

Afterwards the kids were let into the classrooms for the first time and the noise they made was deafening. Mums came to look through the windows to see what was going on and found Mike giving an impromptu English lesson! Brilliant! Everyone wanted to join in; a number of mums even came into the classroom and started to dance.

Once the formalities were over the school team were treated to a delicious meal of mutapa, a volunteer favourite. This was swiftly followed by a some coconut wine and much playing (well…being dragged down, poked, hair platted, scaring, chasing…) with the kids. Later a challenge was thrown down by the gentlemen of the community (including inebriated elders) to play football. Needless to say the football was of the highest standard with some pin-point hoofing, exceptional off the ball sleeping and certainly no ‘shooting from absolutely anywhere’. The game ended in a highly controversial 1-1 draw, the controversy being that the scorer of the equaliser had literally just strayed on the pitch from nowhere and booted in the goal. Half of the players were in uproar while the rest were searching for more coconut wine.

The day finished all smiles and cheerfulness though. The school, looking absolutely magnificent, had been handed over with barely a hitch. We really got the impression that the children and community had really taken ownership of the school and it’s future. Huge praise was heaped on those involved and hopefully the benefits of everyone’s labours will be felt for many years to come.

I think the general feeling on leaving the school for the last time was one of genuine pride and amazement. Pride that it was built almost exactly as it was envisioned so long ago and amazement that it was built almost exactly as it was envisioned so long ago! So what’s next? If anyone has any bright ideas it could be you opening something in a couple of years time…
We want to hear from you…

The Scott Wilson Millennium Project is always interested to hear about new potential projects which will benefit children in countries where Scott Wilson has a permanent presence (outside the UK). Please contact millennium.project@scottwilson.com, to:
-Share your ideas, for possible inclusion in the 5-year commitment to the Phembane Community Primary School;
-Offer your ideas for new projects to support;
-Volunteer your time and services.

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

All Good Things.

Friday 25th Continued…

Fernandos final words

Greeting us with a breakfast of cake (his wedding special), Fernando and Juliao had some final words (tearjerkers if ever there were) about their views of the SWMP / QUEST partnership and project.

Juliao began by citing his concerns about Fernando before the project began; ‘he is an old man, who suffers his illnesses of rheumatism and age, I was concerned that he would be unable to handle the long walk to work and three months of work. I am so glad he managed it and that he was so appreciated. I am sure that someone was watching over him to help’.

Juliao continued to talk about how much the school means for the area and how appreciative everyone in the village is for all the hard work and dedication it took to bring the final building together. He thanked us and said he would make his final speech on Monday when the kids are back.

Then Fernando took centre stage (dressed as always as the messenger of peace and love – Santa). He spoke very much from the heart and thanked everyone involved, spoke about the three cakes he had made (one for each team) and how much joy he got from working with the groups.

The most significant words were when he spoke about growing up in the colonial era in Mozambique and saying that in all his long life, he had never seen people with such love and such good will to help others. He had not realised that there was such good in the world, and to know this made him very happy.

After apologising that his baking methods and ingredients were not what we may be used to, and may not be to our tastes, he served up huge slabs of the most delicious cake. Definitely to everyone’s tastes, and made all the more poignant when we found he had been up until 2 in the morning baking and icing it. A cake made with dedication and love.

When you’re back in the Uk, if you can spare any funds to help us help Fernando pass on his knowledge and skills to future generations of Mozambicans, please do.

Contact Mike Pidgeon and Mark Eisenegger at the SWMP.

Saturday 26th July

Casa de Comer (The House of Eat)

Today saw the group (except Bea who was doing the final dive for her diving course) travel to Inhambane. About 10 people hired a dhow for an hour and had a very peaceful, calm and relaxing journey which took in, well not much really as we didn’t go very far, but it was very peaceful calm and relaxing! Just what we needed. Others qued for the bank machines and everyone managed to get another trip to the market in.

Lunch at Verdingoes was a welcome meat feast.

The afternoon consisted of preparing for the amazing food at Casa de Comer by going to the Tofo market, again. The main highlight of the evening was at Fatima’s bar where we experienced an famous local drumming group. The dancing was lead by the groups number one follower a 67 year old woman who had 11 children and who danced a the drums story.

Whilst most headed back for bed at a relatively reasonable hour others partied the night away, having breakfast in Said’s Bread Shack and then watching the sun rise, going to bed just before the main group headed off on Sunday morning.


Sunday 27th July


Rising early for 10am most of the group were able to see the stragglers from the night before returning to their nests to sleep. So were rudely awoken when they saw Chris H sand rolling followed by an extroverted morning swim.

Chris W, Nick, Bea and Mark were off diving Manta Reef today, a 25m dive. Others came into town for even more shopping (will you never stop Wendy!) and relaxing on the beach soaking up Tofo’s atmosphere.

Underwater Mark and Bea managed to miss the only manta ray their group saw during their dive because they were doing tasks for their deep dive qualifications. Whereas Nick and Chris, who had gone off together as they were a lot more experienced, manage to reel in the big fish – 6 manta rays circling them, a reef shark, 3 devil rays. Mark and Bea were not to be disappointed though when on the way back we spotted a juvenile whale shark (only 4m!!!) cruising the coast near tofo’s reef. Bea, Nick and Mark leapt into the water to swim within only a few metres of it. Within a few minutes we were exhausted, paddling away just to keep up with this giant. What an amazing experience.

The evening meal was a quiet one with people lost in their own thoughts and packing their pressies for the journey tomorrow.


Monday, 28 July 2008

School, Done.

Saturday, 19th July 2008


The team leader had a very ‘easy’ job, as people felt so motivated that they started working even before breakfast arrived (this has never happened before!).

Our work was concentrated on two main tasks: 1) Sanding and painting the admin rooms. 2) Fixing the purlins and putting up the zinc sheets on the roof. In the meantime, the local workers were working on the floor of the second classroom and helping with the roof.

Even though on Saturdays we usually work half day, due to the pressure of getting the project finished some people carried on working for another couple of hours.

In the evening, we all had dinner at Dino’s and enjoyed a great party – dancing skills were shown by many. The party went on until 4.30am, but only a few survived!

Sunday, 20 July 2008


Most people decided to chill out in Tofo (the market and the beach).

Five of the group headed off for a horse riding trip. Martyn on Riverdancer had the party over the dunes and on to the beach. Accompanied by the stable dog they walked past Mango Beach through the surf towards Barra.

After about half an hour they veered off into the dunes to take an undulating track with a mixture of walking and sporadic trotting from Chris and Dick. From the dunes, they had an amazing view back to Mango and Tofo in the distance.

On the way back, they passed along the other side of the swamp and were rewarded by a different view of the school, a shining white beacon in amongst the palm trees.

Monday 21st July


Monday morning dawned warm and blue as all of us less Jamie (the latest to succumb to Tofu belly) trekked thoughtfully to the site. This project really is turning into a cliff hanger. Will we really have it all finished by the end of the week? There still seems so much to do.

Breakfast was delayed so we bought forward the day briefing session. Stuart, the day leader roused the troops with his own personal and passionate take on why we are here and building so much more than just a school and why we are the team that can pull this off in the days remaining to us.

For the roof team the day kicked off backwards as quite a few roof sheets had to be taken up and the whole line of the roof realigned in order for the ridge pieces to work properly. This was mostly done by the local carpenters and the roof team busied them selves with joining the local workers knocking the snots off or otherwise known as snot knocking/ and even snogging as Stuart calls it!

Two painting teams were also flat out all day, with just a brief lull before lunch whilst waiting for fresh supplies. Some of them morphed into newly set up window teams who will support the window carpenters for as long as it takes. The latter have come with several family members to help and a power plane and saw , but in spite of this will be pushed to finish by Wednesday, There are loads of beads to be incorporated into the windows, all of which have to be made on site, cut to length and positioned very precisely and in some sections sat on silicon.

In the afternoon fresh supplies arrived with Gary including such goodies as Stanley blades, silicon plus, masking tape, other roller extension, window stays plus loads-o-paint-mate and oh, by the way all the inside walls are now going to be cream and the windows grey (what bureaucrat thought of that combination)!

The afternoon also welcomed onto the site Chris the camera man with his dinky HD camera. Working with Mark and Stuart he filmed all the activity and shot some 1-1 interviews with several volunteers.

The last few of the volunteers trekked home to gathering dusk and to find our usual path reduced to plank-width in one place by the women extending their plots onto the highway!

Tuesday 22nd July

Day 26 in the Mozambique hut, the David Healy worshiper was feeling a lot hotter than he looked!!…. So the Geordie boy took the reigns again a day early.

The day began with a mild confusion over the level of finishing work required, there was however lots and lots of painting to do. Some of the team were suffering after the previous efforts have begun to take their toll. Never the less everyone was upbeat after breakfast.

The classrooms were painted in cream, which was a very loose description. Overall the day was very productive and most of the window casements and beading was in place by the end of play.

On return thoughts were with Jamie again and apparently being ill is the best way to get all the ladies into your room. It’s unknown whether or not a “bed bath” is allowed under quest rules??? (Only kidding Ashleigh!!!)

Well that’s about all from me …..


Hello Mum J Ian

Wednesday 23rd July

“Touching Up”

The day started with a lively briefing before starting the varied tasks of painting, painting or (if you fancied a change)…. Painting. The small rooms had to be painted with the final coat of “cream” (several weeks old cream perhaps). After a group discussion the term “learning beige” was stumbled upon and stuck. Some white “touching up” was also required which Sally and Dick got stuck into….

An early morning shower had us all cowering in the school under our lovely new roof whilst some of the local workers took the Micky out of their members of the roofing team when a few leaks became apparent. These were to be sorted out the following day when the roof was dry and a little less slippery.

The end of the day was rounded off with a game of Frisbee having a good time whilst trying to minimise the destruction of the local trees (Ian).

Thursday 24th July

“Which way do you face?”

Today there was a varied choice of tasks for the tired workers. The choice included painting in pink, white, grey or ‘learning beige’, and only Dick was excused to help Des in repairing the holes in the roof. An ingenious solution of very thin sticky tinfoil was employed, fingers crossed it will stand up to the job. The team also benefited from the arrival of four additional scaffolding ladders to help us ‘shorties’ reach the top of the windows, although this was not such a problem for Jamie who returned to site today after his ‘sick leave’. The glass also arrived on site today and with the carpentry teams working hard to fit it, by the end of the day nearly half of the building was complete.

Chocolate on the ‘space mat’ after lunch set some of us up for a busy afternoon’s painting although we were all slightly confused by a comment from Bea regarding which way we face in the site toilet?!? I wasn’t aware there was more than one option!

The afternoon session involved more painting with Chris, Stuart, Nick and Dick doing a sterling job on the grey gloss. It was hard work especially when the veranda was screeded outside of classroom one making it impossible to get in and out. At one point Chris had to the long jump to get out, and then later in the day build a bridge from site debris to retrieve his hat in an Indiana Jones style. I think a few arms will have to be twisted to get them more help tomorrow.

Great work from all team members ensured a really successful day on site. Only one day of work to go - I think we’re going to do it !

Friday 25th July

‘The Day of Reckoning…….’

The day dawned brightly, the team was in high spirits, would it end the same way…..would it in fact, all end today???????

Upon reaching site, we were greeted with the most incredible cake baked by Fernando and family. After a moving speech by the cook himself, translated by Chris (just about!!) a sugar rush of cake was delved into by the whole team, not once, twice but in some case three times!!! A quick practice of the national anthem chorus by the team for Monday morning and then the real work began.

As team leader all I can say is what a team. Jobs did not have to be allocated, briefings were not required as all 15 sets of hands got rightly stuck in with the one mindset….completing the building today as per the Architect/Structural Engineers programme!!!!!

Belting out Rolling Stonessssssssss Classics such as Paint it White, Paint it Grey and Paint it Cream the team got to work – Dick painting the frames, Martyn touching up white, Marty tidying the site, Sarah chief paint spotting, Sally the Sergeant Major keeping order on the ground, Ian Mr Masking Tape himself, Nick the Roller Ace with the painters Bea, Stuart, Mark, Nikki, Wendy, Chris and Christina!!! By the end everyone had a paint brush in the hand!!! The team are a credit to themselves because the grit, determination and willingness shown not only today, but for the whole month has been nothing short of immense. An early finish ensued and the coconut wine flowed with the village elders and fathers in attendance………an interesting taste that wine with a few ‘Roger Rabbit choking eyes moments!!!’. Many photos followed with the workers and villagers and the realisation dawned on the group……………

THE BUILDING WAS COMPLETE (apart from snagging!!!!!!)

A night out to Bamboozi with a local band playing allowed for a chilled and relaxing evening and end to the day!

Finally, all that is left to do is for me to issue the Certificate of Practical Completion!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Now Recovered ‘Healy’ Worshipper

Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th July.

A well-earned rest, including visits to Inhambane, dhow trips, diving and relaxing in Tofo.

Friday, 25 July 2008

Snot knocking anyone?

Thursday 10th July

All clean from our long-awaited shower and chocolate dessert from the day before, we set off for yet another productive day on site early this morning. Tasks for the day were clear: wood cu]tting for the benches, sanding and painting of two of the rooms, windows and door frames and finalising the trusses and block cutting for the roof.

Everything went smoothly and we managed to take a break to spend some time playing with the children. They loved it! We did too! We did the hokey-cokey (or okey-kokey, whatever!), which seems to be an old-time favourite of theirs. Then, with the kids wondering what we were up to, we took out the rope…time for a little bit of limbo! We had to explain to them that they have to bend backwards to go under the rope instead of running under it head first a dozen at a time, but it didn’t take long for them to grasp the concept and start showing off to each other. They seemed to enjoy it so much that we didn’t have the heart to stop. Instead we started rope skipping, with Nikki holding their hands and telling them when to jump. Time to go back to work came all too soon.

Just before we left for Mango, we were told that the water had stop running again and that there would be no shower or drinking water when we get back (again!). And today is the day on which the wedding is being held. The bride was not very happy that she couldn’t wash her hair…of all days! After much persuasion and a promised bottle of wine later, Nikki sang ‘Nobody Does It Better’ at the reception and we could all hear her voice ring clear and pure through the resort. Way to go!

The bar was off limit as the reception was being held there. So, in true campers fashion, we had dinner in the outdoor kitchen, sitting wherever was possible (which including the kitchen sink and the steps). Food, beers, juice and fizzy drinks were brought down to keep everyone happy and chatting, until the hard day’s work lead us back to our cabanas.


Friday 11th July – Last day of Term

Having been reliably informed that today is Friday, the task of writing the blog falls to me.

After the morning walk to site with the usual entourage of tardy school children and regular chorus of “Bon Dias” in our wake, we arrive to discover that today is the last day of term. It dawns that we will have to make the most of it.

As usual, the local lads were already on site and working to complete the plastering of the administration rooms from the previous day. With some still to do, they have been persuaded to work a full day tomorrow to plaster two walls in the classrooms. This will enable them to be made near complete (except for the roof). Other work today included continuing building up the blockwork in the admin rooms, sanding endless piles of wood for the desks, minor plastering below trusses, touching up paint and the addition of the first purlins (rails between the trusses to nail the zinc sheets to) over the classrooms.

All the children turned out from lessons during a natural lull in the work (and still needing to get some footage on our recently repaired video camera), the Scott Wilson Kids Club was assembled and dispatched to entertain. This was the first real chance we have had to play with the children for a good length of time and began with a new Mozambican Record for the largest Hokey-Cokey. This was rapidly followed by a largely confused relay race using flip-flop batons, with at least one child sighted running with two flip-flops at times. They children then broke into smaller groups to play games that included “Duck-Duck-Goose” (Google it, it’s difficult to explain).

Then everyone assembled for a mass contest of Tug of War. From where I was watching, it was unclear who won but this seems to be common and no one appeared to mind. The Scott Wilson Kids Club were admirably supported by our new Canadian friends gymnastic act, which had the local lads stopping work to watch. Though, without taking anything away from a very good show, one or two of the local lads have been known to stop work to watch the clouds go by.

The children have been told they can return in their holidays next week to play. It will be interesting to see how many do after today’s show, and we still have a few tricks left up our sleeves.


Saturday 12th July - Code word ‘Master Mind’

We arrived on site at the usual time and had breakfast, which included egg, for a change. The team was lacking it’s usual energy at the start of the day and it was a struggle to get tasks assigned, but today was a day for finishing up on lots of small tasks and the team were told that, if asked about their progress on a task, the answer was ‘I’ve started, so I’ll finish’. This proved to be the case, in the end, as many tasks were, indeed, completed and it was a productive morning. Sanding, painting, sanding, painting etc etc etc. After a slow start, it was actually very difficult to get some team members to stop work and eat lunch!

After the walk home and showers all round, we headed into Inhambane for money, shopping and food. The market was an experience for everyone and many bags (Beatriz) and trinkets were bargained for before it was time to meet up for a dinner of gourmet burgers and tasty desserts. The ride home was also an experience – drinking rum from a plastic bottle in the back of a van that had a big hole between the roof and the back door – but everyone survived!

Back in Tofo, the team headed for the bar and enjoyed several beers and ‘White African’ cocktails – whilst discussing the choices that people had made for the next day, which was the first day that we were to be left to our own devices. Surfing, Kayaking and Diving were the main choices, with some people opting to simply chill and relax… can’t think why!? The walk back along the beach under the moonlight was the perfect end to a great day...


Sunday 13th July – ‘Zer is a shoe in ze Vater’

So, Sunday finally arrives and everyone is looking forward to whichever activity they have picked. Four of the team had picked a day of adventure on the Kayak Safari and were hoping for good weather – they didn’t get it! After leaving Mango Beach at 8.10am (without the donut breakfast that everyone else was to later enjoy), they set off on their adventure from White Sands to Inhambane Island in Kayaks that were (and I quote) ‘Un-capsizeable’. Unfortunately for Nikki and Martyn, their Kayak proved about as un-capsizeable as the Titanic was unsinkable!! They ended up in the water at least four times on the 90 minute journey and will forever share a bond that can only be gained by such experiences!! There were three German back-packers on th trip with them and one was heard to shout, upon the first incident, ‘Zer is a shoe in ze vater’ – which happened to be Nikki’s flip flop! By the end of the journey, he had both flip flops!! Many other quotes could be put in the blog from that particular experience, but none are printable! However, overall, the day was a great success and most of the day was spent laughing!

Those who had chosen to chill out also missed the sun, which had decided to hide behind the clouds for the day, but they enjoyed some time on the beach – as well as walking into Tofo for food, drinks and shopping. The divers didn’t have such a great time, as there were difficulties with the diving equipment and with the levels of visibility – due to the very strong currents, so they didn’t get to see a great deal. However, there is time for them to try again, and most are up for another attempt.

Quotes of the weekend:

‘Ian is suffering from goat in the knee’
‘It’s not something, it’s something else…’!?
I’ve bought an elephant but now I don’t know if I want it!'
‘If you have booked it you must be there, otherwise you make me look like a 'expletive’ (the quotee subsequently didn’t turn up the next day for their activity!)
‘These are the worst conditions I have ever seen here’ (dive master – great thanks)
‘The water will be like glass’ (kayak instructor before embarking into choppy waters)

Monday 14th July

Day of Dick

For Jamie, the day started with an involuntary shower – day of Dick started off wet!
However. The sunrise was the best yet.
Today we had too many bodies for the available tasks. We had a frantic burst of - you’ve guessed it - sanding and painting the walls that had been successfully plastered – bribery is alive and well in Mozambique – on Saturday. The desk jockeys were confused – not difficult – by our trained carpenter, The master length had mysteriously shrunk between Saturday and Monday, It transpired that Cremildo had cut 10cm off so that the desks would fit into the room!!! The desk job was welcome today after the weekend’s exertions, whether physical or financial.
There may not be any bears in Mozambique, but a ‘bear’-chested man was spotted on the business end of a paint roller. One of our members, you would have thought old enough to know better than to frighten small children and animals, was seen to strip to the waist in the early morning sunshine. (photo available for a large fee).
Plan B was invoked when no preservative was available. The purlin joining plates (Lucy won’t let us call them gussets) were primed and two girls set up a production line assembling them so that our top team could erect purlins on the roof. A lot of clearing up was also done, in hopeful preparation for floor screed after the roof sheeting goes up, and scaffolding moved for the plasterers
Some of the team were sent off for the early bath as work dried up later on, and all arrived back at Mango in time to sit at the bar and watch the sun go down on another successful day.

Uncle Dick (rumour has it)

Tuesday 15th July

Early doors

Today was to be like any other day with walls to be sanded and painted; purlins to be put in place, with a side order of snot knocking (chiselling off the lumps of plaster that has landed on the floors prior to screeding). After an initial burst of activity, and the need for plastered walls to finish drying before they could be sanded and painted with undercoat, there was a lull in activities. Some of the group ended running around in circles with some of the kids who still come to school despite being on holiday (you won’t catch any self respecting kid in the UK doing that!).

A tea break was called and a pep talk and discussion of job tasks ensued. With the team decidedly ‘pepped’ and with new assignments assigned the group set off with vigour. Bea and Nick demonstrated their plastering talents, again, straightening the top edge of the internal walls. A crack team put the basecoat on one of the end administration rooms (to be the library); whilst some prepared more purlins for putting on the roof; and others knocked the snot.

To occupy one teams time it was decided the doors could have their final coat of paint applied ahead of schedule (now there is forward planning).

With the end of the day looming the sand and cement supplies for the screed were ordered for the coming week and the final preparations were made before the first corrugated zinc sheets could go onto the roof, hopefully tomorrow...

Eisen-man (apparently)

Wednesday 16th July

Musical day…

After a couple of days of a cloudy start we got up to a beautiful sunny morning. A promising day even though we were three men down due to the usual Mozambiquean effect and strong spices….

The kids were off and the site was quiet….but even the usual walk to the site can be a different experience day after day. A challenge for all the photographers that cant resist getting their cameras out to get a shot of the different birds like the lilac breasted roller with their wonderfully colourful wings, the sun set, the pink clouds, the Mozambiquean ladies walking with their amazing posture even though carrying our lunch on top of our heads, buckets of water or even a huge amount of logs.

The day on site consisted of the usual snot knocking, painting and sanding. But the group was so motivated, enthusiastic and inspired that that a pop band was created and songs written on the sounds of site work…..

“Snot knocking, we’re knocking snot and now I think we’ve had our fill. We’ve never knocked such a lot of snot and I hope we never will. We want to screed the floor today, but we first we’ve got to knock this snot away……”
(Crocodile Rock – Elton John)

“We see a blank wall and we want to paint it white, no colours anymore we have to paint it white. They wanted cream or grey, but we just told them NO. So, we have to paint it white, so go away , just go!”
(Paint it Black - Rolling Stones)

Lead singer - Nikki
Guitarist – Sally
Drummer – Sarah
Saw (?) – Chris
Manager and Promoter – Jamie
Special participation – Beatriz
(Video clip available by special request….single soon to be released on I-Tunes)

Finally, by the end of the day, we managed to get the first zinc sheets up which ended with Martin’s comments: “This is quite satisfying, I might even go for a shave tonight.” This was followed by Chris mentioning that he might keep his rough look…..

So, I have to finish by saying….what a fantastic day after all!!
And also sweet…with Christina handing lollipops to everybody on site.


Thursday 17th July

Jacinto on a tin roof

The day kicked off with a great inspirational talk from Prof. Chris that both gave us the focus and the drive that we needed to bring things together for the day (getting a tired crew into spirits)!

Everyone getting involved from the start made things work well (even with the “snot knockers”). The roof continued to go on with a ramping up start and painting of the north end of the school made another inspirational landmark.

The usual lunch hour was unfortunately cut short for a number of the team with a last minute notification that the first classroom must have a final coat of paint before the final floor could be poured (tomorrow morning)… and with the zinc sheeting going above head (at pause for the lunch hour), a great crew of painters took the bull by the horns and painted fiercely.

The team as a whole took great initiative to coordinate to both advance the roof structure, zinc sheeting, and take care of the important floor work going on below… GREAT work team!

The local workers were also quite involved in the team effort, with the carpenters continuing to work tightly with the securing of the zinc and the rest of the local team finishing off the last couple of small rooms and south end wall.

At the end of an extra long day for all a rewarding drink at the bar was enjoyed by all! This does and should give Prof. Chris a great sense of justice, accomplishment and vigour (and I know it does because that is a “coat”).


Thursday, 10 July 2008

July get stuck in (the loo)

Friday 4th July 2008

After an early 6.00am rise, the team arrived on site with a full compliment raring to go after the refreshing swim and relaxing evening the night before. They were greeted by Fernando with brekkie on the table!!! Fried egg with complimentary roll and coleslaw side were on the menu. As the team finished off, the team leader completed a full brief on the plan of work for the day and programmed the work with Chris accordingly. This assisted with keeping efficiency levels to a maximum barring any late deliveries of course!!

The primary objective was to have each of the end trusses installed by the end of the day. It was also hoped that the rear wall would be painted with two teams to be employed.

Firstly, the preservative treatment was to be completed on the 13 trusses. Two teams were formed, the ‘truss’ team completing the preserving and the ‘window’ team completing the pain-staking job of chipping out the board above the window heads. This efficiency was enhanced – is this the correct word??? – by Martyn removing his shirt!!! Safe to say the school children quickly dived for cover!!! A fine production line was established for the preservation treatment and the trusses were completed quickly.

Other jobs were tended to such as sweeping out the building, sweeping the veranda in preparation for the painters, steel column reinforcement construction which Dick & Marty handled expertly and the moving of block work into rooms ready for installation. A break was necessary & this coincided with the children’s playtime. Stuart, aka ‘Inspector Clueso’, came into his own having happy screaming children chasing bubbles which he was blowing and soon most of the team were swamped by the kids which allowed for fantastic interaction. Lunch came early with chicken and rice (including chicken feet at the bottom of the pot!!!!) and was scoffed by the hard working team including the plinth ledge chipping team who worked on into their lunch hour to finish it.

The afternoon brought the first great visual success for the team. Two teams were employed, one to sand the window frames and the other to paint the first primer coat on the rear wall. This also involved sanding the whole wall first!!! Suddenly the roof trusses were to be placed up in position. The team worked with great precision and by the end of the afternoon had five trusses installed and braced temporarily. Teamwork and translation were the keys to the successful operation, which also included ‘monkeyman’ Chris from Quest balancing on the ring beam to nail the bracing in.

This was a great boost for the team as it was the first physical evidence of the building’s shape changing and progressing since arrival. The previous hard days preparation work were well rewarded. The team worked incredibly well, completing tasks over and above what was set out at the start of the day and now sit chilling beside the beach with a few drinks waiting dinner!!!!

Clothes of the day: Sally in her pyjamas on site!


Saturday 5th July

Only let the Geordie lead for half a day (It’s safer that way)

The first time many of us have worked a weekend possibly since Dick had a paper round. We arrived on site with breakfast ready and waiting for us. Saturdays bring a treat of a half day break and breakfast of donuts and fruit.

The group began the day energised and up for the challenge of getting the remaining 8 trusses up and finishing the sanding and undercoat painting of the front of the building. The work today had to be coordinated to allow sanding work to be carried out whilst the trusses were being put up. As the trusses were completed in a surprising amount of time the day was a great success and this allowed Martyn to take the members from the lifting team to begin an important task of breaking up any damaged blockwork so that it could be used in the floor screed. It’s amazing that even now we are able to show commitment to sustainability.

The first Saturday night was a slight blur including cocktails and celebration, Martyns Birthday was finally celebrated in style and Iain passing his degree making it a double celebration. We had our first team meal out where the chicken kebab was labelled as “not the rubbish you get in England” and to be fair the food here is so good its true.

Everyone is raring to go for another week at site after we go whale watching tomorrow.


Sunday 6th July

‘ A Whale Of A Time’

For the first time since arriving we were able to have a lie in. Of course everyone just woke up at the usual time and just stayed in bed trying to ignore the hangover, get back to sleep and avoid wrestling their way out of the mosquito net to go the toilet - bladder strength has increased significantly in all of us over the last week.

We all got together about 10am for breakfast which consisted of chocolate and jam doughnuts – we needed the energy. We then had a quick ride into town on the back of a truck to go whale watching. We paid, signed our lives away and then got kitted up with snorkels, flippers and swimming costumes and headed to the beach to meet the boat. The classic comment of the day was from Wendy (with flippers and snorkel in one hand) “are we going to get wet?” – what can you say to that…

In the boat and out to sea (at a fair pace) to try and find some whales. It wasn’t long before some humpback dolphins were spotted which we followed for a while. Several shouts of “whale” through the day from Chris sent us tearing across water to the area of the sighting before easing off to get a bit closer. It was amazing to see the spout of water, the whales breaching (humpback whales) and then the classic tail fin shots. One group (is that a pod?) of whales were six in number – fantastic. Three sail fish following the boat on the way back ended an amazing day out on the water.

A few hours in Tofo at the market was good bargaining practice and many a bargain was had. Back to Mango Beach for some cracking food and an early night.

Chris H

Monday 7th July

‘Snot Knocking’

The morning was started with a lack of water – all the taps in Mango Beach were drier than a camels toe… we just hoped it would be fixed so we could have our cold showers when we got back.

The second week at the school started and unfortunately a geologist was let loose on the group for the day leader (what do they know????). The morning tasks were allocated and everyone set off with lots of enthusiasm (well a lot for a Monday morning) and completed all the day’s tasks in a record time. This led to a shortage of work until more paint turned up. Chris (Hitch), the slave driver that he is, forced several of the group to start the task of “snot knocking”. Snot Knocking is removing the “splats” of render from the floor prior to screeding. It’s the most thankless task you can ask anyone to do and much respect goes out to all those who got down and cracked on with it.

More paint was delivered by Gary and work recommenced at a scorching pace to make up for lost time. A late finish on site was rewarded with the bad news that the water was still off at Mango Beach. Looks like we’ll all have to smell bad just a bit longer.

At the bar Marty asked Nikki “Can I bum a fag”. “Maybe you’d have to buy him dinner first” Nikki replied.

Enough said.

Chris H

Tuesday 8th July 2008

Another good day on site, we divided into teams with progress on the concrete columns and completion of the block work on all but one of the apex walls. There was much mixing of mortar and plaster to keep everyone supplied, and an eight strong team got to work on the painting, firstly base coats to the perimeter walls and then sanding and painting of the window frames in the first classroom. We’re all getting to be a dab hand with the paint brush!

Still no water when we got back tonight, problems with the pump meant that water has been slow to fill the tank. Hopefully after dinner we should be back to normal – it’s a good thing, we’re all starting to pong! In case of further problems, a few of us headed to the sea for a quick swim and wash down, followed by drinks in the bar at sunset – what could be better?!

We’re being treated to gourmet food at the moment, guinea pigs for the new Chef catering for a wedding later this week. Apparently he runs a catering college in South Africa and has cooked for Nelson Mandela! Tonight we were treated to a delicious fish and cabbage starter, followed by a gorgeous chicken curry, and a chocolate cake dessert! The pudding went down especially well, those of us with a sweet tooth have been craving cake!

We’ve been a team member down today as the dreaded ‘Mozambique Tummy’ continues to wind it’s evil way through the camp. I believe there may be a new record for the most visits to the site loo in one day! Hopefully back to full strength tomorrow.


Wednesday 9th July

There are no Bears in Mozambique!!!

Another day in paradise and the team are smelling sweet after two days without water!!

The day started with jammy custard and two men down who were “weeing out of their bottoms” (Mark Eisen Man and Martyn)!

Three people were required to start on desk building and purlin cutting so Stuart, Nicky and Nick put their carpentry skills to the test – slow progress and lots of curly wood shavings!!

4 to 1, yes more slop makers and those lucky people where Wendy, Christina, Marti ‘McFly’ and the lovely Jamie…

Dick and Co (who will be staring in a calendar later in the year apparently!!) continued on the blockwork and column filling…

The rest of us were sanding, painting, sanding, painting, sanding, painting – and the final job of the day was undercoating the 7 doors – hurray!!!

Another splendid fish dinner with live Mozambiquian music and dancing in prep for tomorrows wedding – don’t worry it’s not one of the team… that’s it from me I’m off for some more of Marti’s snoring, after another cheeky glass of wine – SWEET!!!!!

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

The Roof, The Roof....

Monday 30th June

‘Solidarity Reg’

Group 2 left in a blaze of glory with proud salutes and emotional farewells. Kerry had one last tug on her earlobe, Trina threatened come customs officials and Cristina was re-routed by 8 hours via Vilanculos to Maputo.

All in all – a typical day.

Group 3 arrived, this time there were four bags missing…. And one volunteer.

Again….. we’ve come to expect no less of the relevant airlines. After nearly fifteen hours in a torpid state on various aircraft and in duty free lounges, and then being expected to run across the airport to catch the connecting flight, it is a wonder that more were not lost. The reason for this unscheduled activity was that the flight to Inhambane was actually leaving four hours….. early!….. you couldn’t make it up! Out of all this chaos, came the unusual benefit of being able to meet the June group at Inhambane Airport as their flight out was delayed. Inevitable banter and good wishes ensued between the more voluble members of the two groups.

Tuesday 1st July

First day here, and after some first day faffing about, including the sourcing of various clothes for those poor unfortunates without their cases, we were late to the site and had missed the daily rendition of the Mozambique National Anthem. After a hearty breakfast and an enforced rain break, we set about the task of unravelling the June groups joinery efforts on the timber roof trusses. A certain amount of enthusiasm for ensuring the gusset plates were fixed, whether or not in the correct place or orientation, was rather unfortunately evident. After some deliberation, we set about the preparation of an inventory to determine what materials we had been left by the June team, we were able to set up a process that enabled all the gusset plates to be marked and cut out, whilst the timber trusses were primed with preservative and marked up with the requisite nailing patterns. We are hopeful that this will save material wastage and improve fixing and manufacturing times for the roof trusses.

After our walk back to the Cabana a small number of us went for a brief swim in the Ocean, before sundown. We were treated to ‘Frango Mango’ for the evening meal, which we understand, is something of a special treat…followed by a few drinks, and sleeeeep zzzzzzzzz!


Wednesday, 2nd July

Marty and the missing bags arrived!

The day on the site started with a very nice breakfast, the team was ready for the second working day on the site. Tasks were very diverse: some people were cutting wood, others were working nailing the trusses for the roof and 3 people joined the local team for helping with the plastering. After having a very nice lunch, we got back carrying on with the tasks but found out two main obstacles: lack of number of hammers and nails. We got a new delivery of nails by the end of the afternoon, which allowed us to finish most of the pieces of wood for the trusses of the roof.

When we got back to Mango Beach we met Marty (the last team member), who just arrived in Tofo and was ready for a swim on the beach. Those who arrived from Newcastle were very happy to have their bags back, all thanks to Marty!

Other highlights of the day were: Beatriz and Cristina communicating in Portuguese with the local workers and children learning the local bitonga . Cristina and Beatriz weren’t able to respond to the locals’ expectations of getting married in Mozambique! We learned how to ‘rebocar a massa’ (floating on the plaster), Nick becoming the expert among us. Cristina also learned not to hang around under the coconut tree to sunbathe, because coconuts are the second cause of death in African countries after malaria.

Thursday 3rd July

Coconut Thursday

We are surrounded by elegant coconut palms and today they certainly made their presence felt. Desperate for containers for preservative first thing in the morning we went foresting for containers. We didn’t find anything much man-made but did come back with coconut shell halves! These were used for the preservative, carrying the large number of nails we were rapidly getting through and a fun lunchtime session with the children in which Beatriz and Stuart introduced them to a simple wet sand sculpturing game using just the coconut shells, sand and a little water. They loved it. On the way home Dick and Beatriz were stopped by a young school boy who then shinned up a tree (you can guess which one) and presented them with a fresh coconut for the group.

Today was also satisfying for finishing two activities. Firstly assembling the 13 wooden roof trusses which both June group and ourselves have been working on. Secondly, removing the excess hardboard from under all the window and door lintels. A hard, tedious job which Dick, Chris, Martyn, Marty and Jamie all excelled themselves on.

Then a lorry arrived delivering 100 bags of cement which was all off-loaded in record time, quickly transformed the appearance of most of the team to that of miners emerging from a pit.

By late afternoon we had run out of supplies and most of us were able to leave early for our first swim while the sun was still up, followed by a relaxing beer in the bar afterwards, watching the sun set over this magical place that is beginning to reveal itself.

Adios June Group

Day 53 Friday 27th June - Saying Goodbye the Mozambican way!

Our last day on site began with a chilly start and a slightly subdued atmosphere as we made the trek through the sand dunes on empty stomachs for the very last time. By the time we reached site the sun had come up and we were delighted to find a new addition to the breakfast menu of fried eggs and chips (along with bread rolls and the obligatory tomato and onion salad)…Neomie opted to have her eggs ‘well done’ but something went wrong in the translation and they came back hard boiled, though much appreciated nevertheless! Becky briefed the group on the day’s tasks and had everyone in suspense about Chris’s big surprise at 3pm….
Most of the group continued working on the roof trusses in the morning, with a select few being finally allowed to have a go at plastering the internal classroom walls. Our intrepid leader Chris was particularly keen to have a go and bravely took it upon himself to assess the impact of splattering plaster all over his head and in his eyes, so that he could show the July group how not to do it! We were all a bit distracted this morning and it was hard to get going again after the compulsory biscuit break at 10am – we were conscious of the fact that this was our last chance to play with the kids and so we broke off early for lunch and got in a last rendition of hokey cokey before the matapa arrived. After our now traditional post-lunch snooze, we continued working in the blazing hot sun until 3pm when everyone downed tools, took their last few photos, and got stuck into the ‘surprise’ delivery of palm wine. Once we’d got over the rather unconventional smell, our first taste of this local delight proved very popular and we were soon keeping pace with the local builders who were clearly enjoying the chance to let their hair down – Jucinto was even seen cracking a smile! We eventually dragged ourselves away and set off on our last walk home – the commute to and from work just won’t seem the same without all those palm trees! Back at Mango Beach we made a start on the weekend with a drink or two and thoughts of how much diving and last minute souvenir shopping we could cram in over the next two days.

Quote of the day: ‘MANSY!’ (The only ‘English’ word now universally understood by all the local builders)

Saturday 28th June – everyone needs a happy ending….

Saturday brought final opportunities for the group to enjoy the activities available in Mozambique, some of the group dived, Brian and Steve spent the afternoon fishing (unfortunately they didn’t catch our dinner), several of the group relaxed with a massage (a big hit to relax those strained muscles). Many hit Tofo market for the last opportunities to barter, swapping clothes and shoes for gifts. The group reconvened in Cassa de Comer for our last meal and headed to Dino’s bar for our last drink, and just one more and go on I’ll have another if you’re asking….. Our Quest leaders finally had the opportunity to let there hair down as well and pass on their words of wisdom and thoughts on the world. These opportunities were well taken and well received.

After a brisk stumble back up the beach a few brave team members sat up for sunrise the rest preferring to slip gently into an alcohol induced slumber.

Sunday 29th June – ‘Don’t Ever, Ever…’

‘…let Chris get so drunk that he has memory loss the next day!’

After Saturday night’s drunken shenanigans, the group rose bleary eyed on this, the final day. Some of them struggled with David and Chris not even managing to make it out of Mango Beach (lightweights!). Some of the luckier folks in the group (Neomie, Mitesh, Trina and Debbie), nursed hangovers with some full body Hawanan massage from the wonderful Hayley, a recommended pastime for future reference! Christina was the only one of the group who decided to go scuba diving, and what a finish to the trip - as well as all the usual fish, Christina topped off her trip with a turtle, 20 sharks (including white and black tip reef sharks, leopard shark and nurse shark) and 16 devil rays. Not my pastime of choice when nursing a ‘delicate’ stomach, but Becky, Kerry and Diane took the opportunity to see a bit more of the local area on horseback. Becky enjoyed some fantastic galloping along the beach but Kerry managed to break her horse and so stole Diane’s, leaving Diane to trek home on foot….The remainder of the group recovered in the beloved Waterworks café and the day’s fun was interspersed with discussions about who did what the previous night. It was much fun embarrassing our leaders with stories of their antics, which included some beach wrestling, shots, ‘wedgies’, and general drunkenness. During a final dinner of ‘smooth’ soup with fish and rice, the group presented Charlie with a token of appreciation; trousers from the local market and Caramilk chocolate (Mmmmm), and cleared Chris’ bar bill, leaving him credit on his tab to keep up his drinking tradition (springboks all round!)

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Its Beginning to Come Together

Day 44 Tuesday 17th June
Yes Boss!

The day began with our usual early morning march over sand dunes and around the swamp to get to the building site. Upon arrival, Chris was presented with Fernando’s finished proposal and architectural plans for his cookery school for submission to obtain planning permission.

After a breakfast of French toast, coleslaw, fried banana and strange dough balls, Chris headed off to Inhambane to run errands. Trina, the day leader, briefed the group on the day’s activities and delegated the tasks amongst the group members.

The main tasks for the day were:
1. To complete 5 courses of block work on the internal division between classrooms and administration rooms.
2. To complete the block work around the windows on the back of the school building in preparation for laying the ring beam.
3. To complete the ring beams along the front of the building spanning both the classrooms.
4. To repair the column at the far end (south side) of the school.
5. To fill in all the gaps between the door frames and the block work.

Within a short period of time, everyone got stuck in with the block work and filling of gaps with the Mozambican workers preparing the ring beams. After a few hours though, most of the group found themselves at a loose end as the ring beams progressed very slowly, which was extremely frustrating.

By lunchtime most of the tasks had been completed bar the ring beams. Lunch consisted of rice and prawn matapa (or tomato-y sauce for the vegetarians) and bananas for dessert. After a short break out of the blazing sun, work started again with most of the group working together mixing concrete and carrying it to and fro as the ring beams were filled in. The Mozambicans were working noticeably faster at this point!

Several others went round the site sweeping up debris, pulling out nails from wooden boards and generally cleaning up the site. They also helped to move some scaffold to the south side of the school to allow the column there to be repaired.

With the last of the ring beams and the column repair completed, it was time to clean all the tools, check the inventory and head back to Mango Beach for a well deserved rest. A few people volunteered to stay back to help unload the cement that was supposedly being delivered sometime that evening. However after waiting around for half an hour, we were told that the delivery was postponed till the next day, which a lot of volunteers will relate to….This is Africa!!

Day 45 Wednesday 18th June
I’m Singing In The Rain!

The morning started a little hazy, The wind kept me up most of the night, but was still up and ready by 6:45 for the morning hike to work… a long thirty minutes across the land under the African Sun. Sounds great, but try that with a heavy backpack and steel toe cap shoes.

We arrived on site to the sounds of the children singing the national anthem. As always it is amazing to see and hear.

Chris headed off with the dashing day leader Mitesh… by far the coolest dude on site, having never taken off his shades off once and always managing to have great hair (windswept)…to brief him on the day’s activities.

Today’s work included; block working the internal wall between the 2 classrooms, the external back wall and casting 2 ring beams and columns.

The morning started off slow, with high winds and rain delaying the start up. A good reason to have another coffee and a game of charades, with Free Willie, Lord of the Ring and Back to the Future making an appearance.

The weathered cleared up about 9ish and the days work began with a human chain to bring in the blocks to the working area. The worked progressed on site at a reasonable pace throughout the rest of the day, with everyone seeming happy and busy.

As lunch seems to be an important focal point of everyone agenda, it seems an important point to mention. So, today we had Cashew nuts, crab Matapa and rice. Having cleaned every last grain of rice on our plates, some people headed off for an afternoon nap, some read and a few had a friendly game of tag. Brian also managed to climb halfway up a coconut tree.

Just as we managed to clean up and pack up all the tools the rain started up again. It poured hard, there was no singing and we ran back to Mango Beach for a few cold drinks and a hot dinner. The rain continued for most part of the evening, forcing us at one point to move the table and chairs in the bar as the wind and rain came showering through.

The evening ended with the group watching the first 15minites of Happy Feet and the than the dvd started to play up and so we all headed for bed.

So far this trip has been amazing, the group is getting on really well and everyone seems really keen on getting as much of the school built before the next team arrive. Working alongside the Mozambique workers and playing with school kids during ours and their recess has made this a truly enjoyable culture exchange.

Day 46 Thursday 19th June
“Happy birthday Mr Ed”

The howling wind and rain kept many up during the night but we were up and brushing our teeth by the light of the paraffin lamp at the usual time of 6.30ish. The rain had made the walk to work that little bit more difficult with wet sand sticking to our steel toe cap boots. When we got to site we waited for our breakfast, each taking bets in our mind about what we might get! Would it be omelette or deep fried crispy things?

As breakfast began to arrive, Ed walked in to find Fernando had baked a huge chocolate and butter cake covered in white and pink frosting for his birthday. He presented it to Ed to the sound of the happy birthday song in English and Portuguese although most of us had to hum the Portuguese version), wearing not just his Santa hat but the full Santa coat for the occasion.

The day leader, Christina, briefed the team on the day’s tasks. The dividing wall between the two classrooms had to be built up to ring beam height, as did the final part of the back wall, once we had fitted the last window. Three columns had to be filled with concrete and the ring beam fitted to the back wall. Problem was, nothing could get done in the rain so we played “I spy” until it cleared up.

Once we got started, the morning went by quickly and without a hitch. We realised how much progress we’ve made this month when the roof materials arrived and we did an inventory of the timber, zinc sheeting and nails.

Lunch consisted of rice, chicken and potato - one of the favourites – and work resumed in the afternoon. With all the tasks accomplished by mid-afternoon, we took some time to play with the kids before heading back to Mango Beach.

This gave us a good opportunity to prepare the balloons for Ed’s birthday celebrations and present him with a fetching pair of bright red tasselled trousers with cars on the the front for dinner! A cold drink to finish the day ends the day perfectly.

Quote of the day:
“The best way to see how well your girlfriend will look in 20 years time is to look at the underside of her mother’s fingers”
Diane’s advice on how to gauge aging

Day 47 Friday 20th June

Hey Malaka!
Def malaka: Greek for w****r

We set off from Mango Beach at the usual time under a still visible full moon with fond memories of the previous night’s festivities where we witnessed firstly Trina crowned as ‘most likely to lick the floor of Mango Beach bar while completely sober, and secondly the mating rituals of the so called ‘canus africanus’. As we had our usual tranquil walk to work we could not have anticipated what a tumultuous day it was going to be.

After our breakfast of tomato and sweet pepper omelette and fresh bread rolls with a side of tomato and onion, Christina informed the team on the weekend transportation plans in Chris’ absence. Team leader for the day Diane then identified the day’s key activities as receipt of the remaining timbers for the roof, concreting all the remaining columns and ring beams and a general site clean up/snag of all rooms and the verandah in preparation for covering the building and plastering which would commence potentially the following week. The team was divided up and we set out to work.

Morning progress was good however it was soon apparent that the previous night’s alcohol consumption due to Ed’s birthday had impacted negatively on productivity so a biscuit break was called for half an hour at 10 AM. Gary arrived on site and after debriefing the day leader and set about starting the carpenter off on the fabrication of the first roof truss. So it was a quick job to prepare the carpentry workshop AKA classroom number 2.

Directly after the break all the shuttering had been completed so the team worked on mixing concrete and all the remaining columns and walls were successfully poured. As soon as this was completed we heard the rumble of the delivery truck which arrived with timber. As it turned out we received timber but not for the roof as expected but for the school desks! It was then a juggling act to work out the best way to use the limited space in the storage shed but it was decided to off load the desk timber and place in the storage shed once the roof timber already there had been moved to the carpentry workshop. It was soon apparent that the delivery driver was on ‘Friday time’ as he somehow managed to write a text on his mobile phone whilst simultaneously sliding timbers madly out of the back of the truck. After a few near misses and temperatures rising due to his nonchalant attitude Diane asked the team not to take part in the off loading and the truck keys were sneakily removed by Brian from the ignition so that the timber could be inspected and counted while the driver was present. However all this occurred after Christina informed the driver in a colourful mixture of Greek and Portuguese that he was being an inconsiderate w****r and acting unsafely. The delivery then became a spectator sport for the team as tempers abated until we went for a delicious lunch of curried chicken and rice.

After lunch the storage shed was repacked and the roof timbers moved to the workshop. The site was then tidied and a final sweep done by 4 spanking new brooms kindly provided by Juliao. The team then packed up and headed home. Unfortunately there was further fracas on the way home as the Mango beach mutt Mary who was accompanying Lewis, Kerry, David and Ed home was not welcomed by the villagers near the hotel and she was chased away with a hoe.

It was with a sigh of relief that we retuned to Mango Beach to reflect and anticipate things to come on the weekend……

Quote of the day: ‘Oi everyone, pull yer trousers up, Becky’s looking for cracks to fill with the leftover mortar.’ Kerry to Becky as Becky scurried around madly to use the last mortar on site.

Day 48 Saturday 21st June

The Hard and the Wild

The team awoke on Saturday morning to the pleasant sensation of a work free weekend ahead of them. Chris had the weekend off so we were left under Charlie’s jurisdiction to coordinate journeys etc.

Kerry, David, Brian and Steven decided to have a slow and easy day at Mango Beach. However the day never started for them until the morning sugar rush of jam donuts which arrived at 11:30. After that it was Frisbee on the beach followed by a hearty lunch of NIK NAK like snacks and CADBURY chocolate. We are not quite sure if it was a hallucination due to the excess sugar intake but Brian and Steven managed to spot a humpback whale – from the bar!! David also gave Kerry a hair cut in preparation for the night on the town.

The rest of the team set out in the back of the Mango Beach truck headed for Tofu. There we split up with the divers heading for Diversity Scuba and the others to Inhambane by private ‘chappa’.

Charlie, Neomie, Mitesh, Trina, Debbie and Diane arrived in Inhambane and headed to Verdinho café for breakfast. Despite having an electrical power cut the kitchen staff still managed to ship up a rather diverse breakfast for the group including carpaccio, meze platters of hummus and camembert and steak sandwiches. The intrepid explorers Neomie, Mitesh and Diane set out for Maxixe, a town across the bay, by dhow boat. After settling a price with ‘Captain John’ they followed him down the rather precarious jetty to the boarding platform. There was a moment of indecision as they noted that there was about 20m of water between the platform and the dhow. Captain John then gesticulated wildly indicating that Mitesh should climb on to his back to take the journey to the boat. After a momentary flash of horror across his face Mitesh politely declined and the three waded through the water to the boat. It was then an entertaining 1 hour and 20 minute boat ride across the bay punctuated by one incident of running aground on a sand bank and another disturbing even where it was apparent that the communication between Captain John ans his ‘rudder man’ was not quite as it should be. It was then a quick tour of Maxixe and then back to by speed ferry to Inhambane. Meanwhile Trina, Debbie and Charlie scoured the market for souvenirs. It was then back to Tofo once again by ‘chappa’.

Back at Diversity, Becky Ed and Lewis headed for Clown Fish reef where they saw porcupine, lion and parrot fish amongst others. Jack and Christina had a beautiful ride on Manta Reef where they saw lot of fish including trumpet fish and potato grouper but sadly no manta. Christina’s second dive of the day resulted in some photos of guitar fish and lionfish – not too bad for a first attempt at underwater photography.

The group met for dinner at Tofo’s up market restaurant Casa de Comer for dinner. There were several tears of appreciation as some of us had sight of pork chops and sirloin steak for the first time in 3 weeks! David, Lewis, Mitesh, Neomie, Becky and Brian then headed to the winter solstice party at Dino’s Beach Bar with Brian and Becky having an early night and the others staying up to watch the 6 AM sunrise. A perfect end to a perfect day…….

Day 49 Sunday 22nd June

Doin’ our own thing

We woke up to a spectacular day with brilliant blue skies. There was a steady trickle of team members on the beach from Mango Beach headed for Tofo.

Trina and Becky had as early start and headed to Tofo’s ‘flow massage’ parlour. Feedback on their massages was so good that almost the entire group booked in for the following weekend.

By far the most substantial achievement of the day was Becky and Ed becoming qualified PADI open water divers – well done!! As an added bonus they also saw humpback dolphins (yes that is dolphins) from the boat. Christina finished her Advanced Diving certificate with a dive with a graceful devil ray.

Mitesh took in some horseback riding while Lewis had a slightly less tourist oriented day as he was brought in as a star addition to the Muchaquene team and was instrumental (or so we heard) in the team winning the semifinal of the Independence Day football competition 3-1 by penalties.

It was then a slow and easy walk back up the beach to Mango Lodge as we watched the sun sink below the horizon and looked forward to the rising of the moon…..

Day 50 Monday 23rd June

‘Some days I sits and thinks, and somedays I just sits…’

We all assembled at 7.00h for the walk to school, accompanied today by Chris’s party of Lucy, Mark and Wiz. Charlie on well deserved leave today. Great breakfast of omelette, roll and deep fried crispy things had us all ready for action. Today we were due to begin plastering the external walls, however rain looked imminent and so a 2 hour wait ensued. Eventually it was deemed safe to begin prep work for plastering, but this was a job for the local labour force. The Scott Wilson volunteers amused themselves with charades and introducing some local children to the finer points of rugby. After lunch Chris returned from Inhabane and we all tried to imitate the locals’ method of throwing plaster onto the walls (albeit the internal office walls). Some of us were more successful than others; Brian being particularly adept at throwing a trowel full of massa (mortar) onto Francisco’s head. Chris advised us that as the essential delivery of plywood was not going to arrive today we should head back to Mango Beach and plan the video shoot planned for tomorrow.

Day 51 Tuesday 24th June

‘Ready when you are Mr de Mille’

On arrival at the school today we were met by Tofo’s very own film crew; Chris and Claire from Sangue Bom who were there to film the day’s activities for a Scott Wilson promotional video. Breakfast of custard, fruit and biscuits. The plan for today was to help plaster 3 internal walls and start cutting out plywood gussets for the roof trusses, as Gary had managed to source 6 sheets of plywood yesterday. Work began straight after breakfast and several activities were filmed. Highlight of the morning being the removal of the coconut tree which overhung the school. Soon afterwards Gary arrived and condemned 50% of the plastering as not being within tolerance. Good progress made on fabricating roof trusses up until lunchtime. Sergio from Quest arrived and sang some songs with the children. The local labour force had a half day today in preparation for tomorrow’s Independence Day celebrations, but the SW volunteers stayed on until 4.15 completing 6 out of 13 roof trusses. Some of the team were videoed in group discussion for the promo video. A much more productive day than yesterday!

Day 52 Wednesday 25th June

‘Independence Day’

‘Woo Hoo’ no work today due to the Independence Day celebrations. All of the divers in the group and one or two other early birds had a 7am pick up at Mango and headed for Tofo. By 10am we were all in Tofo for a lazy day at the beach, Waterworks for coffee and the market. Lunch was taken at a number of eating establishments on offer and Tiger prawns at Casa De Comer and sandwiches at Ceeds’ or Pizza at Dino’s for those of us that are all Prawned out!
At 2:30 we were all picked up from the market and headed into the bush to the local football grand final. Three of the group were on the bench as reserves for the big match. Mark was called up in the second half and managed to show his skills with a football resulting in great cheers and amusement from the locals. The game finished without any points on the board and it was down to a penalty shoot out to decide the outcome. Following a tense shoot out it all finished with the away team winning 3 – nil up. An added bonus and to great dismay of several of the June team it wads today’s team leaders first full football match he’s EVER WATCHED AFTER 45 YEARS.

To top the day off – a few of us managed to have their first hot shower after 3 weeks.

Quote of the day: ‘ Chris on the phone to Debbie at tea time: where are you? Diane shouts out ‘ what are you wearing?’

Brian (aka Croc Hunter)

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Bricks, Divers, Bums and Music

Day 40 Friday 13th June

Musical Scaffolds

A full account of folk headed off to the school site at the usual time of just after 7. The air was warmer than previous days and we could tell that we were in for a hot days toil.

After a welcome breakfast of omelette and bread roll, Jack the team leader for the day gave the briefing for the days activities. The idea was to continue with the blockwork between the window frames which had been reset the previous day and cast the concrete ring beam above the store room walls at the back of the building and concrete a few of the columns.

Started the morning by arranging the scaffolding to allow access for laying the blocks between the windows. After a fair bit of faffing we finally got going and three groups of block layers were able to get cracking.

The second part of the day’s goal was casting some of the ring beam on top of the store room blockwork. So, the rest of us set up the scaffold towers to allow the local lads to place the steel reinforcement and secure the shutters. Unfortunately the lads were taking their time and had only secured the steel and one board by lunch time. By this time the folk laying blocks had completed their quota of four courses and so were left at a bit of a loose end.

The morning’s boredom was broken by Brian finding a baby African snail (a giant in our experience) in the brush just beyond the site. Lunch was a wholesome chicken and potato stew with rice which made a welcome change from the matapa of previous days.
The afternoon was frustrating as we had to wait for the lads to finish setting the shutters. After a bit of musical chairs with the scaffold towers we were ready for concreting. We finally finished just after four.

Great news for Dave who was able to renounce the name of ‘Bagless’ as his bag finally arrived at Inhambane where Chris collected it.

It’s only blimming Friday. Roll on the weekend.

Day 41 & 42 Weekend 14th & 15th June

Divers and Bums

The weekend ended up with guys doing one of two occupations, going diving off the coast of Tofo beach or putting ones feet up and touring the local Tofo market.

The divers of the group set off early on both mornings in order to maximise our time under water. Some of us started the open water dive course whilst others were able to go straight out to experience the huge abundance of marine life. On the way back to shore from the dive in Sunday, a few of us were very fortunate to see two hump back whales doing almost clear breaks out of the water, a brilliant sight and rare for this time of year.
Sunday lunch was a treat from the local bakery where we get our morning breakfast donuts. It is called bunny chow, which is consists of half a fresh loaf hollowed out and filled with a really tender beef curry stew. This really hit the spot after a mornings diving or lounging on the beach.
Sunday afternoon a few of us went to Tofo market to buy a few gifts for friends and family. A number of us want to buy a few sarongs and baggy trousers from one stall. By the end we had 10 pairs of trousers and 11 sarongs between us. Now let the bartering begin. Brian and Neomie were the chief bartering team who ran a very hard bargain and managed to get a great deal for the rest of.

By the end of the weekend we all felt well recuperated and raring to crack on with the schools construction come Monday; there was talk of starting to erect the roof structure by the end of next week which would be excellent progress.

Day 43 Monday 16th June

Another Brick in the Wall

Monday morning again and the beginning of the third week for the June Group. The morning gathering in the kitchen presented a few delicate people, but as ever, that wasn’t going to stop anyone from going to site.

On arrival, there was something not quite right…..the lack of school kids. We were all a bit disheartened by this as we had become accustomed to the daily interaction with the children. Julião explained to Charlie (who translated to us) that today was a memorial day in recognition of three events. The first is for the children who died during the Soweto uprising and is now treated as Africa Childrens’ day. The second event was the anniversary for when 600 people died after revolting against the Portuguese so that they could plant food crops instead of the designated cash crop (cotton). The third event which took place was when the national currency changed over from the Portuguese escudo to the Mozambique metacal.

Breakfast was slightly delayed but that just provided the group with an excuse to interact with the kids who had decided to come to school that day (including Trina scaring them with her ninja head gear – an extreme measure to the dust created on site!). After some clapping games and a successful rendition of the hokey cokey breakfast was served (omelette, bread roll and salad). Neomie, the day leader briefed the group of the day’s activities and divided up the tasks accordingly.

The main tasks of the day were:
1) Bring the front wall up to ringbeam level;
2) Bring one of the internal walls up to ringbeam level;
3) Mark out the placement of the windows on the back wall;
4) Concrete the ringbeams at the western end of the building;
5) Ensure all windows already in place had mortar to seal them to the underlying brickwork; and
6) Free the cement mixer from being buried alive by the mounting hardened concrete surrounding it!

Everyone got stuck in even though it was proving to be a scorcher of a day. Within a couple of hours most of the tasks were well on the way to being completed with additional blockwork started on the back wall around the windows. A slight error in the marking out of the windows was picked up early so very little backtracking needed to be done. By the lunch break four tasks were completed and one was almost done. The group had a lunch of rice, chicken curry and bananas and took the rest of the time as an opportunity for a cheeky snooze in the shade.

After lunch, blockwork around the windows and the filling in of the mortar underneath the windows continued. The main activity during the afternoon session was to concrete the ringbeams at the western end of the building. However, soon enough that too was completed and more tasks were required. Before we knew it, it was time to call it a day. The highlight of the afternoon though was Gary returning to site with some post for Kerry and a tooth repair kit for toothless (aka Ed). However toothless’s relief was turned to disbelief when Lewis (Ed’s cabana mate) realised that he had a similar tooth repair kit in his bag all along! We all trundled back to Mango Beach after a long, hot but successful day at the office.

Friday, 13 June 2008

A Week of June Goes By

Day 33 – Friday 6th June

Put Your Dirty Hands Up

We awoke to a brighter morning than yesterday and set off on our usual commute to the sound of a Portuguese lesson on mp3 which lasted about 30 seconds before being replaced by some tunes to help us on our way. We arrived on site to the sound of Reef singing ‘Put Your Hands Up’ and quickly tucked into a breakfast of omelette and a bread roll - one of the more normal breakfasts we have experienced so far. The tasks for the day were to complete the veranda to the southern and western walls but first the cement mixer had to be repaired after some minor damage sustained yesterday. With repairs complete we started digging the trench for the footings on the southern wall. After a few disagreements with the local labourers about levels on the veranda the southern footings were completed in time for a break.

Over break the kids from the school were willing to pose for a few pictures but were completely shocked when Kerry started chasing after them on all fours while barking. It didn’t take them long to realise (as the rest of us have) that she’s always completely barking! After the break we continued to work at our leisure on the eastern veranda footings, while we waited for materials to be delivered. Lunch (easily the least favourite meal of the day) consisted of Matapa and rice followed by oranges for dessert. After lunch the cement we had been waiting for finally arrived and we had to unload all 100 bags. Trina experienced a ‘near fatal incident’ when she was crushed by a falling bag of cement, and took a well earned break while the rest of us completed the job. We then moved on to finish the footings to the western veranda and started the block work to the southern wall before heading for Mango Beach at the end of the day with the sun in our faces and the prospect of a dip in the Indian Ocean followed by chicken samosas (which are excellent) for dinner to look forward to.

Quote of the day

“This thing’s f**king heavier than I am” – Trina under a bag of cement

Hope you’re all enjoying the 9 – 5 in the office!


Day 34 - Saturday 7th June

“Beer at Bamboozi’s”

It might be the weekend but we were still up early and on site as usual by 7.15. The children are normally at school on Saturday but today was a public holiday so it felt quiet on site without them. After a filling breakfast of doughnuts, bread rolls and fruit salad in ‘custardy jam’ everyone set to work. Our main tasks were redoing the internal blockwork that had been pulled down yesterday, and continuing with the veranda which involved more blockwork and backfilling ready for concreting after the weekend. We had an easy half day and after lunch on site caught a lift into Inhambane for our first glimpse of the town. After a quick stop at the bank everyone split up into smaller groups and headed off to explore and do some shopping in the local market. Back at Mango Beach we started the evening in the bar watching the football and then headed off down the beach to Bamboozi’s for our first taste of Tofo’s nightlife, all except Brian who was feeling unwell and stayed in to get an early night. There was much confusion over what we could order to eat as lots of items on the menu were unavailable, but several drinks later our food eventually appeared and the garlic bread was definitely worth the wait! We had a pleasant walk back along the beach and continued drinking in the bar at Mango Beach with most of the group staying up till the early hours in anticipation of our lie in tomorrow. A busy day but lots of fun.

Day 35 – Sunday 8th June

“Bumps and Bruises”

Our first proper day off and everyone headed off to Tofo starting with an amazing breakfast of freshly baked doughnuts from Ceed’s Bakery. Most of the group went snorkelling – the boat ride out was good and sights included dolphins and a few schools of fish but on the whole there wasn’t as much to see as had been hoped. The snorkelling only lasted about 15 minutes due to choppy water and a few people struggling with essentials such as staying afloat and breathing normally! The boat trip back was quite rough with more than one person looking very unwell and Debbie in particular suffering with seasickness. Sadly no whale sharks were found but the final nail in the coffin was a rather abrupt landing on shore which resulted in an unfortunate collision between a still unwell Debbie and Lewis’s foot…. and the chance to practice our first aid skills! Meanwhile in the café next door Becky, Brian, David, Neomie and Diane took a more relaxed approach to the day and enjoyed a change of food and music (there is only so much Bob Marley we can take at Mango Beach!). Becky and Brian were feeling a bit off colour so took the chance to get some rest and did not move from the sofa and hammock all day, but the others ventured out with the returning snorkellers for some haggling in the local market, surfing and a game of volleyball on the beach. Lewis put on a brave face with his badly bruised foot and joined the other invalids in the café but Debbie had to be taken back early. A rather subdued evening was spent in the bar with most people going to bed early.

‘Quote of the Day”

Charlie to Debbie “Have you got diahorrea as well?”
Debbie in reply “No I’m going snorkelling”

Day 36 – Monday 9th June

“Feet and Inches”

A rather flat day on site today. The day started with Debbie still unwell after her sickness on the snorkelling boat. Chris was dispatched to Inhambane to pick up medication and pass the last rites on the laptop (R.I.P.) so two people down before we left.

However, we did arrive on site to catch the children singing the National Anthem which lifted the mood, followed by omelette and chips for breakfast.

Lewis having made it to site, all be it slowly due to his damaged foot was site manager. A group set about progressing the blockwork on the internal walls, whilst the rest of the group worked around the mixer and concreted the remaining two sides of the veranda. Breaking for lunch after completion of half of this.

Lunch was interesting and included our first brush with chicken feet and bean stew. Only Trina, Diane, Brian and Jack seeming brave enough to try this.

Back out on site we discovered that the concrete level was too high and we had to dig out some of our morning work straining slightly the atmosphere between the group and the local workers who rectified the error taking an inch off the level.

This took us to the close of the day, a tool count later, and a reappearing trowel we headed back to Mango Beach.

Day 37 - Tuesday 10th June

“Beachball Banter”

A full group headed to site this morning geared up for a busy day with “Dave” the manager. After a breakfast of “Rich Tea”, fruit and warm custardy jam, the group carried out some column repair and repointing of external walls. The team marked out window locations with the local guys fitting three for us, we continued some internal blockwork, removed veranda shuttering and the obligatory burning of poo paper! Since work on site was fairly limited today we had a general site clean and clear up followed by some beachball banter with the schoolkids. Everyone enjoyed the opportunity to get to know the kids but one schoolgirl was not enamoured by Kerry who intentionally kicked her in the face with a ball twice! The funniest of moments was when Brian shocked all the kids by revealing he was 45 years old!

The local women served up a lunch of crab matapa and fruit just before Mr. Chris announced we were to have a half day due to the lack of work ……

Lying on the beach on a sunny African afternoon isn’t the worst thing I’ve ever done but it sure beats work!!

Quote of the Day
“I was not talking to you, I was talking to your husband” Local guys to Charlie accompanied by David.


Day 38 - Wednesday 11th June

“Trowels and Tribulations”
Full ralley of troupes headed off to work on what started as a nippy morning. Roughly 20 mins later arrive at site a lot warmer than we started.

Had a full breakfast of omelette, chips and roll. The first order of the day was to shift some blocks inside the school via human chain which was carried out post group hug. This was followed by a full morning’s blocking on the internal walls and around the windows of the front façade. Stopped for lunch around 12.30ish and had a feast of rice and coconut chicken stuff followed by a fresh cut coconut for each of us. Unfortunately not everyone could eat their coconut after drinking all the coconut milk inside.

After lunch progress took a downturn as the block supply was severely depleted, the result of which was a half day for the group, so after cleaning up we all headed back to the ranch where most people elected to hit the beach and bar.

QOTD: “ Y’know laying a block is a lot like making love to a beautiful woman”

Day 39 - Thursday 12th June

“Ctrl alt delete reset the windows”

Headed out with the prospect of a full days work ahead. Fernando had surpassed himself this morning by serving up specially made (what looked like) dough balls with banana and french toast (eggy bread) and tomatoes, the dough balls were made of flour and coconut meat. Unfortunately very few of us ate them, they were collected up to give to the other workers. Debbie was team leader for the day and gave out the days objectives.

1. Move water tank by collecting three large logs and arranging them in a triangle and filling in with soil from the back of the building and at the same time levelling the soil out. The water tank was then placed on top of the triangle and the blocks underneath it (in its original position) moved away to the inside of the building. While moving the blocks we found a spider – a rather large one – a tarantula in fact. A quick photo shoot later and it was gently lifted out and let loose away from the fascinated crowd.

2. Moving blocks from outside to the inside of the building. Forming a human chain yesterday was damaging the blocks with too much handling. These blocks had only been cured for three days instead of the usual five and had to be transported one by one very carefully.

3. The partition wall dividing the two rooms at the western end of the building to be finished to ring beam height (ceiling height). Cross wall had to be bonded into the walls of the cupboard.

4. Levelling of all of the windows at the front of the building. This undid all of the hard work done yesterday because none of the windows were at the right height consistently along the site of the building or level. Work consisted of painstakingly chiselling out the massa that had been put in around the window frames yesterday – hot and tiring work.

While lots of very careful measuring and levelling was going on Kerry introduced the school children to the joys of the hokey kokey. A big circle was formed and everyone taking part just started to enjoy it then break was over and the children were called back to study.

The windows took up most of the day – but they had to be right!! Gary came and gave the thumbs up and then they all had to be filled back in around the frames to secure for the night.

Objectives fulfilled but on the whole a fair bit of waiting around until the windows were correct.

Quote of the Day
“Hokey Kokey!”

Dr. Debs