Wednesday, May 15, 2013

There is no Home Depot in Djati

Raising the money for the medical clinic was the easy part.

Have you ever thought about what an undertaking it is to build a medical clinic in a remote area of the African bush?  A location with no electricity and no paved road? Think about it for a minute, then read what it really takes.

To build a small clinic

The clinic being built in Djati is 16 X 10
It has 3 rooms
Waiting Room 10 X 10
Examination Room 10 X6
spare room/storage

the following information and photos are courtesy of Maritza
Sand is mixed with gravel and cement for building material
Sand can be purchased, but is costly. To stay within our budget, Fredy generally asks the locals where he can locate sand. Sometimes sand is found on the main ''roads'' to Djati or in the bush. That means if the sand is under a big puddle, the puddle is dug on the sides to drain the water. Once the sand is dried, it is shoveled in small piles on the side of the road. When there is enough for a truck, the truck comes in and the sand is shoveled onto to it and driven to its destination.

When they run out of sand on the main road, they cut some of the weeds around small ponds in the bush and dig the sand out from there.  This process may take some days. Another system is to dig small holes about 6 X 6 and when the rains come, the water flows everywhere.   The sand then washes  into the holes and is collected after the rainy season is over.

Gravel -
The gravel process is about the same but it is a little easier.  A local quarry is chosen. (It may be off the main road or in the bush)  The local chief must be contacted to obtain permission to break the stones and take them away.  Once that is done, Fredy and the boys go in with picks, break the stones and/or hand carry large stones that will be used for the building.

Once they have enough stones. the truck driver comes in and the stones are hauled in to Djati (or to any construction site). The expense here is manual labor and paying for the truck to haul the materials.  Often this process takes days in order to have enough sand and gravel for the construction of a building. if they run out of sand or gravel they continue to dig for sand and gravel until the work is completed.


Adobe - Mud bricks
Mud and clay are mixed together.  Generally the mud and clay are mixed with water and stomped using the feet. Once the clay is mixed it is carried in small buckets into a rectangular mold where the clay is deposited and left there to dry in order to make the bricks.

The bricks are sun baked in an oven made of clay. Hundreds of bricks are deposited inside this oven. The bricks are baked and the adobe becomes hard just like a concrete block. These bricks will last for a long time. It takes approximately 3 days to bake the bricks. Once they are burned, they are taken out and hand carried to the site where the construction will take place.

In the photo slideshow below of the construction site you will see many of the women and children who volunteered to carry water to the site.  In Djati's case, they are blessed. Now that they have a well (thanks to our well project), they need only carry water for a short distance (perhaps 50 ft).  In the past water for the construction site had to be carried in from at least 3 miles away.
Cement -
Cement is bought into the village from Quebo or Bissau.  A truck is hired to bring in the 50 lb cement bags. During the last truck load of cement that was being brought in,  the truck got stuck in mud, a tire burst. Fredy and the boys waited all night and slept in a nearby village.  The tire was sent to Quebo with a passerby and later someone else picked up the tire and brought it back to Djati. It came back part way by truck. and part way by foot. The truck was repaired but it took a day and a half to get to Djati. (Maritza reminded me of my trip on that road and that road is not one in which you would like to be stuck all night on a truck carrying cement!)
Tired workers -
They will get a meal consisting of rice and fish. One meal only after a very long, hard day.  No French fries, no ice cold cola or even ice water.  There are no refrigerators here, no electricity and no fans...only the grace of God.

Thank you Maritza for your detailed explanation and thank you Fredy and all the workers who are helping to make this clinic a reality!

Below is slideshow showing the progress of the building of the medical clinic. With the rainy season just days away, the villagers of Djati are working together to get the clinic completed before the rains.

See your donation dollars at work!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

WOW! great post interesting explanation of extreme effort and process exerted to build there.