News from Bududa
New school building started

The men in charge: foreman William Zema, Charles Muasa and Bob Arnold

The men in charge: foreman William Zema, engineer Charles Muasa and supervisor Bob Arnold.

By Barbara Wybar, Executive Director, Bududa Learning Center, Bududa, Uganda

Monday morning, February 4, 2013, Charles Muasa, the well known British trained engineer from Mbale came to Bududa with his foreman, William Zema, and laid out the site for the new building at our school. He has four men and they dug in posts and then framed the rectangle with poles, so our new site is framed.

Monday night our construction supervisor, Bob Arnold from Britain, arrived in Bududa and I hopped in the taxi with him in Mbale. I had gone in to get the money from the bank needed to build this building.

On our way to the guest house on Monday, we stopped at the school and found half a dozen men digging at 6 p.m. They had been given their particular holes to dig and would be paid 16,500 Uganda Shillings (about $6.50) to dig a five-foot-deep hole which was approximately one yard square. They had started while it was cool.

This is what our first real day of digging on the site, Tuesday, February 5, looked like with 32 four-foot squares dug to five feet deep. Twenty five very strong Ugandan men set to work and it was quite something to watch.

This is what our first real day of digging on the site, Tuesday, February 5, looked like with 32 four-foot squares dug to five feet deep. Twenty five very strong Ugandan men set to work and it was quite something to watch.

Tuesday, Bob and I walked down to school early and found the site totally changed. There were at least 25 men digging their five-foot-deep holes. Charles and William Zema were off to the side supervising and when Charles saw Bob, they embraced each other with a bear hug. The men stopped digging to see this scene of the Muzungu (white man) and the very black engineer entwined. It was a happy scene.

One of the diggers digging his hole

One of the diggers digging his hole.

The men were digging and the evidence of their efforts were piles of  red dirt outside their individual holes. I was so impressed at the industry and at the fact that we had finally started this building. There were 32 holes to base the 32 pillars there will be to support this building. Some men chose to dig two holes and brought in friends later in the day to help with the excavation.

Bob got right to work and made charts and made plans and saw that Robert had the orders in for the materials that would be needed for the next stage. I did my bit by getting the money and Robert did his bit by getting the materials, bricks, sand, aggregates, wheelbarrows, etc.

There was hum around the place yesterday and everybody was energized by the scene. It was too exciting and it certainly was thrilling for me. So thanks to you all for supporting this effort in so very many ways.

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