September 2009

50,000 BRICKS:

Yes, the villagers finally finished making 50,000 bricks and with our tractor and new trailer, we finally transported all of them to the orphanage site (3 to 4km.) to burn as like in “kiln”.  The burn date is this coming Wednesday, 23rd.  Then it takes two weeks for them to cool.

The bricks were all on hillsides drying, so we had to form long lines to pass them up the hills to where the tractor and trailer could be parked for loading….not an easy job.  (Note pictures)  This was a difficult process to organize as we had to start at 5:30 to 6:00 a.m. every morning  for 7 days.  This is the busy time for the villagers to be working in their shambas  preparing the soil for planting potatoes and corn.  So they will only work with the bricks about 5 hours.  We have 6 sub-villages, so the sub-village leaders would divide the work between many groups of people averaging about 20 in each group.

The tractor also made four trips into the woods to transport huge trees called kuni (firewood) for burning the bricks.  Our tipping trailer holds 4 to 5 ton.  I fuss a lot about the weight that is being loaded into the trailer. How does one know when they have 4 to 5 ton of bricks or trees in a trailer?  I keep telling them I am the BOSS,  and we will not overload this trailer for fear of breaking an axle or what. Then we have to travel over terrible roads, if you can call them roads, to the orphanage site. They all look at me like I am crazy….then I scream at Freddy “tosha”, (ENOUGH!)  Finally, they listen to me.

What really surprises the villagers is when they see me driving this 1985, three manual gear sticks, 85 hp tractor with the trailer loaded with tons of bricks down the bumpy road to the orphanage site.  I have gained great respect….women do not drive in the villages and rarely drive cars in Njombe town.  Actually, there is nothing to drive in my village, no cars.  There is one old Ford tractor that still works sometimes but belongs to someone in Njombe town.


So, the bricks will be burned this coming Wednesday and will not be cool enough to use for two weeks.  This is creating stress for me as the rainy season will start in late November and my cement fundi (mason) and his crew will not be available until the middle of October. I have talked with Ngoma, my mason, and explained the issue.  He is a good man and will work hard to get the walls up on the dorms and bathrooms before the rains come.  Then Fredy will do the roofing in a couple days….they can really work fast when they need to.

I thought it would be wise to set the date for the orphanage “open house” for next May 28th,.  I intend to send out invitations to many including Tanzanian President Kikwete and Mama Kikwete of Dar.   This, I thought would help to speed up construction, but all it has done is cause more stress for me.  I will be coming home for the month of November and again in April 2010 (for taxes).  That leaves only one month after I return to finish all and prepare for the open house.

I do have about 6 fundis (carpenters) working on furniture, i.e. bunk beds, tables, chairs, etc., one in Uhekule and the others in Njombe.  I have a fundi in Kipengere Village making a large cooker for the kitchen and another different kind of cooker in Mafinga town.   Paul Maloney in California, who formed the Praecavemus Foundation making your donations tax deductible, will be coming soon to Uhekule Village with solar for several buildings.  I have been interviewing several people who say they know how to install solar, another new learning process for me, SOLAR POWER!

The carpenter who was  suppose to install the shutters and doors on the administrative building has not met his schedule due to sickness.  So, the pressure is on in that area also.  He needs to install and then measure exactly the area for window glass (vioo) that I have a performa invoice for in Dar.  Then I need to send the exact dimensions of every window to this duka in Dar and they will cut the glass and package it up for transporting.  They have promised a good discount!  Then I need to arrange the transporting from Dar to Uhekule village, 800 km..

I also need to set up a performa invoice  for the paint and get a good “paka range fundi” (painter) to do all the walls after the plaster dries which will be sometime in late Feb./ early March.  Then there are many dishes and cooking utinsels to buy, 77 mattresses, 77 sheets, 154 blankets, on and on.

I am still recovering from passing bricks up the hills those seven days, 4 to 5 hours each day.  I want the people to know I will work alongside them as a villager.  They know I am a volunteer and seem to appreciate me working with them.

So much is going on, and I just want all of you to know that none of this would be possible without your support.  Uhekule Village is now an example to all villages what can be done when people work together with support from another country.   The villagers are so grateful.  They treat me royally.  The tractor is so appreciated….villagers bow down when they see it and to me.

100 ACRES:

The village government has given the orphanage 100 acres of land.  Fredy and I were given a tour of it recently, and I am so very excited about the prospects of what we can grow and sell keeping the orphanage sustainable.  We hope to plow up and plant many acres of corn yet this year.  It is my dream but not sure we can accomplish everything this year.  Time will tell.  We have four tractor drivers now;  Fredy, Abraham, Anselmo and me.   Fredy is the best driver, but I need him at the construction site, too.  (Never thought I would be learning to drive a tractor at, soon to be, age 70.)

Again, my grateful  thanks to all of you for your donations, your sponsorship of an orphan student, and especially your prays and love.

Peace to all,

Bibi Kay

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