24th October

Today it looks almost finished.  No roof yet but walls higher than any of us can stand and a growing frustration at the wobbly heights we have to build the concrete block steps to reach the top.  Windows frames all in, door frames solid and yet the trickiest part is here.  As we level off the top walls every block needs cutting to size.  We all tried all ways to get those honeycomb of diamond hard rocks bonded by a crumbling and sparse cement to split clean and straight.  The claw hammer, the chisel and club hammer, the trowel and the disc cutter.  Most terrifying was the disc cutter.  A 9” grinder with discs so worn they would fit a 4”.  And reading the label we see “metal cutting”.  Our experience overcame our enthusiasm and we played it safe.  Never needing much of an excuse to go to the Spar we went shopping for masonry discs of the right size.  We also got some insulating tape to replace the sweet wrappers that were covering the bare wires and “protecting” the users from 240v.  The mechanical team set to; fit the disc, secure the guard and insulate the conductors.  Then we handed the tool to Baba Mbata who showed us how it should be done.  Guard off as he couldn’t see the cut, eyes screwed almost shut to save his eyes and away went the tin sheet protection we had installed around the designated block cutting area.  Always keen to maintain a safe working environment the BM boys and girls moved into the house, first aid kit ready and waiting.  He survived, we survived and a patchwork of blocks slowly filled the gaps to give the walls an even fall to set the roof to.

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