It had been 5 days without internet at home. And leaving aside inevitable concerns with family and job duties, the truth is that a delicious sensation of evasion and disconnection from the world has invaded us. That same disconnection that connects us with the world that we are really living, our world here, now. We are still learning from our Xarit to live in the present, the best gift we can make to the future…
These days without internet have given us some rest in terms of social life, but on the construction nothing stops. The walls of the administration are already raised! How time passes by… it’s been just a little while that we were in a field of sand with a Palm tree, and now it’s possible to glimpse one of the four buildings of the Center! Everything moves, and although there is still lots of work to do, it is already possible to visualize how life will be in the center.
Fortunately and unfortunately, we have been surprised by cloudy days, and these surprises are just increasing. So this week we’re covering the walls with our special blend of mortar (clay, sand, straw, cement and syka). We already told you that the first coating was made during the joint action with the community, and we realized that applying the mortar in the morning makes it dry very fast with the heat, and cracks parts of it. Therefore we are dedicating the last hours of the afternoon to do it. And it is also really better to work when the Sun no longer burns and the marine breeze refreshes you. And to be honest, a little nap before returning to work never hurts!!
We have also found that slightly sparks of water on the walls before pouring mortar optimizes the way it sticks to it. Finally and after all, the same water that kills us with fear in the days of rain helped a little in this process!
But resuming… the walls are getting beautiful! The idea is that the exterior walls will not be painted. We want to make it the more authentic possible, and with the mortar they will retain the original color of the mud, the color of the land of Senegal. We are experiencing and that is surely one of the best chances that we have with this project: exchanging opinions, tastes, trying and learning in the process.
This past week, the technical team has also been finishing the ceiling design. The buildings will be covered by with two layers: one of zinc, with the aim of sealing, and another one from straw, local material that favors the acoustic and thermal insulation. The structure is composed by wooden trusses that will support the weight of the roof transferring it into the pillars of the porch, which will be made out of BTC (blocks of compressed earth that Doudou gave us). The Library and Administration porches will provide spaces for outdoor activities (always with plenty of shade), which is a fundamental part of the building traditions and local culture.
And, although we have said that we were done with the Foundation… Now, it is back (at least the easy part)! (Building the porches require cementation the isolated footings which rest the pillars. As always, we prepared the wood formworks (now smaller and isolated from one another) and by the end of the week we will have the concrete done.
And another surprise, by visiting the ground the next day to check the result, we saw that some curious visitors had been around… We saw marks of goats paws on the pads! Besides, it is also possible to see monkeys and donkeys wandering. There is already life in the Cultural Center! There is just a need for cheering it up a little more!
We will be telling you more and better the week that comes! If there is no power outages of internet…