Tuesday, November 9, 2010


It’s the end of the day, and I feel good. Productive actually. Yes, productive in Africa! We spent the morning presenting our five site plan concepts to James. James was hilarious in his responses. He’s got a real sense of humor; a familiarity with American culture that is both shocking and hilarious. He loved our concepts and gives us a lot of freedom, trusting we will come up with the best plan. We told him that we wouldn’t be happy if he likes all five plans, asking him to be super honest. He was very comfortable telling us that one of the plans he didn't like at all. Then half way through he messed with us by saying that he didn’t like having to many choices (like at an American restaurant) instead, he liked all of them all – lol! Then when our team lead points out that he bashed the plan he created, James didn't hesitate to remark how much he really didn’t like it. I was rolling on the floor. It’s not that he was being disrespectful, he just doesn’t have any problem being perfectly honest. It’s refreshing :)

After our meeting, I started to put together the design for the visitor’s housing. Boy, I just flew through the design, and didn’t look back. It felt great to get good feedback and get a lot done. A real treat to be back sketching and then producing in AutoCAD.

The survey team has not been as successful as they struggled, travelling around town in search of a post-hole digger. All day long. Travelling in and out of traffic with Mary, James wife, they maneuvered there way about town for this special tool. A post-hole digger is preferred for doing a percolation or “perk” test because it makes a narrow 6-8” hole that requires much less water … which is impossible to find on site during these dry spring/summer months. Instead it will be brought to the site by a guy on a bike with big jugs of water on the back! Tomorrow, they will head out to the site with shovels, and have an adventure ahead for themselves as they dig 3’ down in unknown density of soil and search for many gallons (or litres) of water to fill it multiple times. This is engineering language at the moment, so I will trail off for the night ….

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