Zambia 2016 – Day 9

Carys Worsley, College of Engineering Staff

The team crawled out of bed bleary eyed this morning after an ill-advised late night on Saturday: one day of lie-in and everyone forgot the horror of a 5.30 am wake-up.  Work began as usual at 6am with one team preparing the structure for putting on the roof and the other polishing, scrubbing, priming and painting the dreaded steel roof sheets. I have never polished so much metal in my life and hope never to do so again! One more round of painting tomorrow and the roof is all ready to put up and all we will need to complete are the finishing touches to the building.

Hard at work after a day off

Hard at work after a day off

We worked well past sundown in order to get to this point, although this is slightly misleading as sundown is invariably at 6pm. Still, we retired with the weary pride of those who have toiled from dawn ‘til dusk.

Posts are being sanded and painted

Posts are being sanded and painted

In preparation for a day of painting I adopted full “DIY Dad” attire, complete with dodgy hat, combats, stained boots and the obligatory paint splats (added to throughout the day). I painted my way through the day looking happily ridiculous until it was announced that we needed to go to the village to gather essential supplies for lunch (bread rolls). It must be said that bread rolls lose their charm after a week of eating them at least once a day, no matter the quality of the bread rolls.

After lunch it was decided that an adventure to the supermarket was required to collect ingredients for dinner and breakfast tomorrow, and to have a break from working in the hot sun. I exited the shop clutching what seemed an obscene luxury: hair conditioner. Never have I put so much deliberation into choosing a hair product. The novelty of this treat was slightly ruined by the ice cold shower that followed after work was finished, but I am now the proud owner of silky soft locks that no longer smell of paint fumes. I thought cement was the hardest thing to get out of your hair but alas it seems I was wrong: paint takes the biscuit.

The team sanding away

The team sanding away

Tomorrow is the last official day of the build. This is strange to me: it seems we only just arrived and the prospect of finishing the project carries with it a slightly disturbing finality. Hopefully this will allow us some time to run some science-based workshops with the children, which everyone is really looking forward to. It will also be lovely to relax with the team: friends who I feel I have known far longer than a mere week.

Carys.