15 June 2011

Chimoio Mercy Air base

We have just got back from another trip to Chimoio where we worked on the Mercy Air house.

Building a house in the African bush is a long process where just about everything is done by hand so having a team of five of us go up for a week really helped accelerate things. Paul and a Dutch pilot called Arzaja spent most of the time making about 30 windows and installing them in the frames.
Ron had already cut and milled the wood from trees on the farm but even with all the drills, saws, chisels and routers we could ask for, it still took a whole week to make and fit them.

A big diversion on the first day was the arrival of a 40' container that had started it's journey from the US in January. It made it's way down our dusty road and then backed into a quarry where we could unload it.
Out of it came many mechanical implements that had been donated in the US, including a John Deere tractor and what people in the UK would call a JCB, but here they are known as TLB's (tractor, loader, back hoe).
Then it was back to the frames.
The next day's diversion from the wacky world of wood came in the form of trying to help fix a grass cuter that will used to keep the grass on the airstrip in order (when we manage to get some to grow on it).
Then it was back to the frames.
Day three was window frames all the way, except for a brief interlude where we helped rig a ladder in the bucket of the TLB for access to get a big wall painted.
Then back to the frames.

On the Sunday we went to a local church.

One of the other things we had managed to bring up with us was a box of Bible's in the Sena language which we gave out to local pastors. Apparently they are one of the 10 rarest bibles in the world.

Not that we needed many diversions on a Sunday, but if we did it came in the form of a Puff Adder which Dwight had caught on the path near his house.
These boys are quite nasty.

The last full day was spent getting most of the windows installed. Some last minute adjustments...
Then all but one of the windows fitted.
And this is just one side of the house.

Of course the who week didn't just revolve (or hinge) around windows. Tim worked hard on a number of things plumbing related including the solar hot water system...

 and the loo.
Which Ron was first to load test..

His wife Christiana helped Barbara and Swenky with the painting..
Whilst Swenky also lent a hand with fitting the windows.

On the day we left we visited the school that ASAM has run for many years now. Some of the children walk up to 10km through the bush to get there.
We were quite impressed by Mr. Incredible who, with his mates, had made some wheel spokes out of bamboo. We'd love to see the rest of the bike when they finish it.
We also visited the clinic..

This is the total contents of the dispensary which is in dire need of a re-stock.

Then it was on to the airport for our four hour flight back to South Africa, a journey that would take two days by road.

Thank you

Mercy Air team

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