Foundation Well Under Way! By Cecilia Stoner

Jambo, EWB Kenya followers!

After breaking ground at the site and digging the shallow pit for the tank foundation yesterday, we were ready to begin laying the tank foundation this morning. When we arrived to Muchebe around 9am, the fundis had already begun instructing community members on how to place the hardcore (large stones) to create the bottom layer of the foundation. The entire 11.6ft. x 7.5ft. x 1ft. pit must be filled with the hardcore, with cement poured around the edges for reinforcement. Then, murram (essentially soil) is heaped on top of the hardcore to fill in cracks between the rocks. Once this is complete, concrete may be mixed and poured on top of the hardcore and murram. Due to delays with the last delivery of hardcore, we were only able to complete about 60% of the base foundation. Tomorrow, we will finish placing the hardcore and murram, in preparation for Thursday when we will mix and set the concrete slab!

Alongside the task of laying the foundation, another team of fundis is working on the plumbing: aligning the corrugated metal roof, fortifying the rafters, and attaching fascia, which are thin and wide boards onto which the gutters will be clipped. The gutters must be sloped such that the water flows towards the designated downspouts, so part of the afternoon today was spent calculating the slope and aligning the gutter clips so that they would angle the gutters towards the downspout locations. Tomorrow, the gutters on the north side of the shed will be hung, and we will finish attaching the fascia on the south side.

Besides the actual construction work of implementation, the team also conducted monitoring surveys in the community to assess the impact of our first project and gather feedback on our second. We conducted a total of 12 surveys today, and will continue this effort throughout the week.

The team has also decided to conduct assessment work for our next project outside of Muchebe, since we have determined that the community is not yet ready to support and maintain a new project given their current financial hardships. We met with the District Education Officer, or DEO, to get an idea of schools in the area that may benefit from a rainwater project, as how the Muchebe Primary School benefited greatly from the first system we built. Over the next week and a half, we will travel to a number of schools in the area to determine where we might implement our next project.

All is well and team morale is high, particularly when there’s warm chapati at dinner!

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