Dec 20, 2008

Mattresses Arrive

New everywhere: new mattresses, new burn pit, new toilets, new water system, new electrical system, all the joy of the students.
Category:Lesotho 2008/09 
Posted by: Rome
Hello again everyone and Happy Holidays!!!

I hear you have had snow in's 85 here during the day and a balmy 60ish in the evenings!

Many of you are asking if we are on schedule with construction items, and I'd say we are still a bit ahead of schedule, with the exception of the brick laying still going very slowly. We are dependent upon the brickwork being done, section by section in order for us to pour the floor squares and they are working in a pattern that allowed us to get the first 2 sections completed yesterday, but now we can't pour any more floor squares basically until we are completed with the brick all the way around the rest of the building.

On the bright side....the electrical system is basically complete although we are still connected to a temporary power location. We have to wait for the local officials to hook us to the permanent power pole. At present we are holding off on the solar power portion, as we are working on a few sanitation issues that turned out to be bigger than we first saw in April. We will likely do some solar hot water, but we can't make that decision for another week or so.

The irrigation system ran it's first temporary zone test to cheers and shouts from the kids and teachers. They actually excused themselves from the brick work scaffolding so they could see the sprinkler system sending water into the sky!!! We still have 2 more tanks to cut into the system and some more programming to do on the controller, but we'll have that done in a few days....holidays permitting.

The 175 mattresses arrived this week, sponsored by the funds being raised by HNA students in Seattle. At first the kids didn't really get that they would be theirs to sleep on until they graduated. Then after a while they understood what we were doing and all hell broke jumping up and down on them and being generally thrilled. They don't want us to remove the plastic covering they came wrapped in for transport, to make them last longer! These are hospital quality mattresses with waterproof coverings so they should be good for a long time. We had the kids do the task of removing the old pieces of board and foam and assorted mats on each bed because, as you can imagine, lots of crawly things had taken up residence there.

We are nearly complete with the construction of a new burn pit, which will have a roof on it this time, and then we'll demo the old one, which happens to be currently located a few feet away from the new building.

Tomorrow the new construction type toilets will arrive and we'll start building them new sewage containment vaults in the ground and having the excavation machine collapse the old outhouses into their own broken pits, putting the new dirt from the excavation over them and creating a 'grassy knoll' where they once were. For those of you who have already been here, you can imagine the relief it will be to get this mess taken care of. Basically, we are building completely new retention tanks in the ground out of CMU blocks, and installing cleanable 'porta-pottie' type facilities on top of the new vaults. Each of the 3 vaults will be properly piped to a drain field. In addition we will run a pipe using rain water run-off across the front of the 'drop area' to rinse it and keep it clean.

The sandstone window/door trim and sill pieces are set out in a room to dry and be sealed before they get installed.

Our 2 major projects that will be underway on Monday will be the toilet vaults and the construction of the stage platform...finally. Can't wait to see how many versions of the stair stringers we'll have to cut before they are right!

So, stay warm and know that we think about you all often.....those who've already connected here and those of you yet to join us!