Friday, October 30, 2015

Monday, Oct 26,2015: Day one working on the Mud Hut

Electricity was off from 10:00 pm until 7:00 am.  It was extremely hot during the night until around 1:00 am.  Because the fan was off the mosquitoes found their way into our chalet to the point that we both used our Mosquito nets during the night. Mossies do not like blowing air so when the fans are going, they are not about, but with the stillness last night, they were at full play!  We both slept well in the cool of the morning but it made for a short night.
Due to no white noise of the fan, after 10:00 we heard the dogs going on and on, barking and howling, then at 2:30 we heard the first roosters crowing.  The roosters are a chorus! Unreal!!! Then at about 6:00 they stopped the chorus and we only heard from a few individual ones. Due to all the noise we were up at 6:30. Had breakfast, and were ready to go to the hut by 7:30.  
Around 8:00 we began loading the 4x4 pick-up with the smaller horizontal sticks to take to the hut. We bounced our way through the sandy streets of Mwandi to where the vertical pole structure of the hut stood.  After unloading the pick-up, we began our mornings work.
Jeep is loaded and ready for the day

The New Hut

The New Hut and the Hut the Family is Currently Living in, on Right

Tying the Cross Sticks

Using an African Hatchet - Cutting a Stick to Length
The vertical poles have already been placed in the ground as well as the rafters.  The huts that are being built now are at least twice the size that were built in 2010.  The roofline now has a gable end but the hut still only has two rooms.  This hut is giving a home to a family whose home was completely destroyed by fire.  It is right beside a very small hut that the family is using to live in until the new one is built.  The family has six children, four of their own and two from a sister that has passed away.
The next step in building the hut is to tie the horizontal sticks onto the walls, one on each side of the vertical poles.  Cal helped the others tie the sticks to the poles while Rachel cut the nylon strings used to tie the sticks.  The husband of the couple that will be living in the hut also helped tie the sticks while the wife helped Rachel untangle and cut the nylon strings into the needed lengths.
Rachel had a nice visit with the gal. Her English was quite manageable. We were able to stand in the shade which definitely helped with the heat.  By 11:30 the group of workers had placed the horizontal sticks on each of the long sides of the building.  It was HOT!! A decision was made to call it quits for the morning.  We loaded up our gear and headed back to camp, stopping in the village for some more bottled water.
Rachel and The Lady who will be Living in the Hut Cutting Stings to Length

Daughter ready for School

Other Daughters Watching

Village Scenes

After lunch Rachel and Cal tried to find a cool place for a nap. It is impossible!  At 2:00 the UK group went back to the hut but we stayed at the camp trying to keep cool, with no success.
Cal & I made an executive decision this afternoon. WE CANNOT handle this 104 degree heat on a daily basis - with no A/C and only one fan “when” there is electricity.  We called Green Tree Lodge in Livingston to see if there were any vacancies for the rest of the week.  They have A/C, plus a pool.  Cal & I are not big fans of pools, but in this heat it is the best way to cool down, and we will use it several times each afternoon.  They will be ready for us tomorrow afternoon!!
It seems a shame to be just sitting around and not doing something, but this is more than we can handle!  We thought we were here early enough in the season, but this year it was already hot in August. We will check into moving our air flights to Namibia up a couple of days – we will balance the cost with the extra time and then make a decision. 
Cold water! We have never drunk so much cold water as we are right now.  We are keeping 6 bottles in the freezer at all times.  And at least 2-4 in the refrigerator – after the refrigerator cools the water we put it in the freezer to freeze.  The cold water with some ice in it is absolutely divine - and of course the water stays cooler longer. In this heat a bottle of water is warm in no time.  When we went to the hut this morning, I wrapped the bottles of cold water in a bath towel to serve as insulation – it worked great!   Some people are drinking beer, but we can handle only one of those a day, if that many.  
I am also keeping a damp microfiber towel around my neck most of the time.  Last night when it was so hot and still, I draped it over my body.  Somehow those damp towels feel very cool. We have been taking extra showers, as the shower water is welcomed by the banana tree by our chalet, but the coolness only lasts a short while.
When we returned from working this morning, I hand washed our dusty sweaty clothes.  It is amazing how in ¾ -1 hour these dripping clothes are dry.  Yes, we do have safari style clothes, but it is still amazing.
At 4:00 the UK kids returned from working 2 hours at the hut.  It was too hot to be working in the sun for a longer amount of time. 
The people here at the camp are very fortunate to have Mary and Barry as their cooks.  This evening we had curry chicken over rice.  Very tasty!!  They really do an excellent job of preparing meals.

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