The team have been busy on the worksites as the houses begin to take shape into homes. On Mama Valentina's site, the team arrived on Tuesday, our second day on the worksites, to find the foundations ready to line with rocks and move on to the next stage of the foundations.
View of Mount Kilimanjaro on the way to Mama Valentina's site
Mama Valentina and her 6 children used to live in a rented house before her husband passed away three years ago. Unable to pay the rent, the family found themselves homeless. A friend kindly opened up their home to provide them with shelter, but was only able to house Valentina and her youngest, 3 year-old Levina. The eldest three work away from home to try to provide for the family. William (18) and Agnes (16) are still at school; William stays with a friend while Agnes lives with her grandmother.
Valentina has HIV and is unable to work due to illness. With her husband gone, she worries about her childrens' future. This new home will allow the family to live together once again and provide Valentina with peace of mind for the future.
William joined the team and fundis on site and enjoyed teaching the group how to count in Swahili as they passed rocks to fill the foundations. The team quickly filled the foundations and covered them over with soil.
The group then walked the short distance to the bore hole to collect water to dampen the soil and met some of the neighbours along the way. They then helped the fundis to place smaller rocks on top to form an even base of the foundations - a task that sounds much easier than it was in practice!
After a lunch break, the team relaxed in the sun to play with the local children living at the neighbouring houses. There is a strong sense of community around the site of Mama Valentina's new home, and the neighbours were excited to meet the volunteers.
The boys even managed to fit in a short game of football in the afternoon sun.
After lunch, the team made fantastic progress mixing and laying the cement on top of the foundations they had completed to allow for the walls to begin to be built. Before they left to return to the hostel, they were able to greet Mama Martha and show her how the house was coming along after only 2 days.
The teams returned to the hostel in time to catch a beautiful sunset from the roof terrace of neighbouring Panama Hotel before re-charching with dinner and cakes at Union Cafe. The day came to a close with the team chilling out under the stars in the Umoja hostel garden as Dave, Harry and Will held a team sing-along to tunes from the Lion King.
On Wednesday, the small team travelling to our third site, to be a home for Mama Martha and her two grandaughters, found the walls to the home already well on their way above the foundations.
Mama Martha's site with their current home in the background
Mama Martha lives with her 2 grandaughters, Maureen (9) and Noreen (7), born to her daughter Evaresta. When their father passed away, the mother ran away from home and left the girls with their grandmother. In their small mud house, there is only space for one bed for the 3 of them. Martha owns goats and occassionally receives support from her neighbours. The new home will allow Martha to care for the girls without worrying about their future.
The team began the day by fetching water from a local borehole and carrying it back to the worksite to be used to mix cement. Many of the local children from the small community came to help. Other neighbours were interested to find out more about the volunteers, too.
We also discovered a lot of fascinating wildlife around the worksite, including toads, chameleons and a hard-working dung beetle.
The team worked hard in the beating sun to help the fundis mix the cement needed to build the walls. They then had a try themselves, with support from the fundis!
The team went home happy to call themselves fundis-in-training!
The group then travelled to Kimashuku Children's Centre to meet and spend time with the children living there. Kimashuku was constructed with the support of Vine Trust volunteers between 2011 and 2013 and currently is home to 26 girls and 6 boys. The team really enjoyed getting to know the children there and playing a bit of rugby, too.
Tune in to Blog 3 to see the progress our volunteers are making!