Woke up at 5:50 this morning for an early run with Omari and Trent. It was really unique: we ran two miles up a little mountain next to our house, and two miles back. Hopefully we can do more tomorrow morning. The entire town woke up around 6:30, and by the time we came back they were walking all along the dirt roads we had just run.
We ate a great breakfast of freshly laid eggs and fruits, and then loaded our water bottles up with water from the ceramic filter we brought up to our house. We headed down to the factory around 9:30 and got to work right away. We started off by digging holes for the tall metal supports for the new roof to go in. Splitting up into two groups, Kunal and I digging together and Kedar and Trent digging together, we had finished six out of the ten holes needed in about a half hour.
By then, some local helpers began digging the rest of the holes, and we started cutting wood for the shelves. We measured out three frames, each of which had two tall pieces of wood (timbers, as they call them here) upright, with four long pieces between them, like a wide ladder. After a lot of hand-sawing, measuring, chiseling notches, and sitting on the wood to hold it still, we had built all three frames, lined them up in a row, and nailed very long pieces on top of each ladder rung to make the shelves themselves. At around 2:00 we went back to the house for lunch, some tasty vegetable dishes, a salad, and mashed potatoes.
Electricity hadn’t been on all day, but I had charged my camera battery in advance and had been able to take pictures and video at all times. The water still hadn’t come on, but we brought water up from the spigot down by the workshop and were able to filter it and use it for our bottles. We walked back down and started work on another set of three frames for a new shelf. Tracy and Kim decided that we should build more shelves than originally anticipated, since we were making progress at such a good rate. We had a full shelf almost completed, only because we lacked enough of the right size wood for the very top shelf, and we soon finished the three frames for the new shelf. Without electricity we couldn’t use the power saw, which would have made cutting much easier. We plan to buy enough wood to make four more shelves in the next few days.
After finishing our work around 5 or 6 we were just hanging around the workshop, about to go back up for dinner, when about a dozen local kids from ages 6 to 16 started coming in and talking and laughing with us. A girl, named Eliza, taught us counting in Swahili, one to ten, and everyone laughed with us at our poor pronunciations. One of the older boys pulled out a soccer ball, or at least what was supposed to be one, and started juggling it with his feet. When I say “soccer ball,” I mean a few plastic bags balled up and wrapped in nylon string, a little bigger than a tennis ball. They eagerly brought us to their “field,” which was a roadside dirt strip about 15 feet by 40 feet, with some pieces as trash as goal posts. We played some exciting, dusty, and rough soccer with these barefoot kids until well after the sun set and we couldn’t see the ball anymore.
We were able to use internet for a little while at a hotel nearby, which is how I was able to upload my first blog post. Internet access here is very rare, but we bought a wireless card so hopefully I can now catch up and update daily. I’m going on a run at 6 am again with Omari, Trent, and Kunal , which will be great. Good night! It’s 1 am and I’ve been writing for an hour, but hamna shida, no problem!