25th October

Frustrated by our anarchic teamwork Baba Mbata allocated tasks to each of us.  The split of labour today, the only day he had expressed any differentiation between us, was simple.  Girls on the bottom, men on top.  More sexual stereotyping dominated the tasks.  The women were to putty and polish the windows while the men hammered and sawed the roof.  Today was a long day.  36 panes of wafer thin glass and 4 different colours of putty all merged with skill and dedication into a fully glazed apartment.  No doors yet, but they ain’t getting through the windows!

Meanwhile upstairs banana shaped battens were nailed to the spliced rafters.  Getting the 5 inch nails through one piece of wood was easy enough but through two was both rare and lucky.  Then the tin sheets, 31 of them.  As any experienced Zulu builder knows we want to overlap the sheets across and down, like roof tiles.  Why then did we start at the top and delicately thread each subsequent sheet under the last.  Working late into the afternoon the last sheet was nailed down and the site cleared.  Tomorrow was handover day but there was clearing, more blocks to fill the gaps we had just created by laying the roof 50mm above the walls and doors, locks and lino.

When all was done we returned to our home where drink was taken and the girls puttied and polished while the boys hammered and sawed.

Tonight was party night.  Our thank you to the local hands, football teams and young Zulu warriors.  Not as large a party as it sounds; all three groups are the same people.  KFC, beer, and cider kept us all partying.  We learned about our hosts, their lives, hopes and dreams.  And we learned of the conflicts and battles still felt and fought in their jobs and homes every day.  None of us felt the same again.  They danced and sang for us and with us and we for them.  Our money and western world technology pitched against their natural talent, enthusiasm and love of life.

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