The first day of building was done after planning for some time, talking to the people involved, looking at estimates, trying to trim them down somewhat and finally making the call to start.
The plumber, electrician, plasterer, and painter all made a running start and are still going strong. The plumber fixed a leaky faucet, a broken shower head pipe (someone must have been doing chin-ups on it), a gutter that was far enough away from the roof that it didn’t catch any water, and put in another water tank (for rainwater) that we had received after a year from the water company.
The electrician split the circuits so that each room can have its own billing in the future. They have a system her for electricity that they prepay, so if they don’t have money, they don’t have electricity.
We’re also working on the outside wall, the outside getting plaster with a design of “keying”, or putting horizontal lines where the mortar is between the natural stone used for building. Inside is a smooth plaster finish. They are also correcting several spots that will now be done better, or were damaged.
And then the painter is doing the windows, rooms and balcony upstairs, and the outside of the entire building.
They have an interesting “level” for (in our case) the ceiling. It’s a garden hose filled with water. They stand with one end at each side of a wall and mark the level of the water where the construction will take place. Very simple and efficient. Who needs laser levels?
All is going well, but I seem to keep busy with correcting and stimulating for a better result. It seems we whites are a bit fussier about how something looks, at least compared to slum communities. The sand-cement mixture is important, but when you pour both on the ground, mix it with a shovel, and add water, there is plenty of room for error. Result: cement or plaster that falls off in no-time.
In the end it tends to work out and we get the job done. Of course now the problem is threatening again that the bottom of the money pot is in sight. We still need to get furniture for the kids and some chairs for the adults, and storage for toys and other things. We also would like to tile the floors in all the rooms, so- we’ll see how far we get.
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