Our first full day on the site, has rendered the vast majority of us, utterly shattered. The 9 of us started work at 9am sharp, with mild trepidation that we were simply going to get under foot and generally be the useless 'mzunga; or whiteman.
This theory was quickly despatched as were split into 2 groups and set to work clearing up bricks, organising materials and generally getting stuck in. A few of us were lucky enough to learn some rudimentary brick laying skills. The heat made things particularly tough, especially when i was asked to help collect some more cement, which lived a 10 minute walk away, and required a climb back, up to site, which was exhausting, made worse by the fact that the 15 year old did two turns on the wheelbarrow to my one - i could not hide my envy or mild embarrassment.
We all gradually found our comfort (or non comfort) zone and slogged it out until lunchtime, the highlight of the morning being a small group of very little children, no older than 5/6, joining us to separate and move broken bricks from new. The image of the kids, clambering over piles of rubble, desperately keen to help, is an endearing and lasting one, the video footage and pics are well worth a look, which I shall load up tomorrow (once I've stopped faffing with the photos...).
Lunch was well deserved and some of us decided to enjoy a drumming and dance show, put on by the primary school. Toby and I, returned to the site and helped the remaining workmen, finish off some brick work and helped construct some scaffolding, that would have turned the stomach of any UK health and safety inspector. The work was quick paced and tiring, as the brick layers demanded more cement (delivered up a ladder in 'Wok' like bowls) and additional bricks, that were delicately 'thrown' up to the worker.
By the time 5:30 arrived, i was balancing on some of the aforementioned scaffold, learning to lay bricks, and both Toby and I, felt very chuffed with our work.
As a thank you to the group, the builders offered to take some of us down to the village to watch the Man Utd/Arsenal game. We gathered with most of the male population from the village, in front of a 28" TV, and was in awe of the noise and dancing that surrounded us, when Arsenal scored, i genuinely thought someone had been killed the noise was so shrill, but no, it was but a man, removing his shirt and whooping with joy. Just your standard Saturday night in Buikwe, Uganda.