U.S. Volunteers Build Hut
During our May 2015 visit to Agwata, two U.S. volunteers traveled with us to help construct desperately needed housing for the school’s headmaster. The teachers eagerly greeted U.S. volunteers, Linda and Merry, who not only provided labor for assisting the local Uganda builder in building the hut, but who also helped provide funding to buy the materials needed for the hut construction.
In just four full action-packed days on site, Linda and Merry helped the builder complete the circular-shaped hut structure by cementing earthen bricks layer by layer until they reached the roofing level. Prior to their arrival, the builder had constructed the hut roof using layers of dried thatched grasses mounted on a pole structure.
Step by Step, U.S. Volunteers Learn to Lay Bricks
The head master’s wife and two children were also visiting so that they could watch their hut being built. The headmaster’s two sons, Jessa and Justice (ages 6 and 2), loved both watching and “helping” with the building process. Many tasks needed to be done:
- grass and debris had to be cleared from the hut area
- school children helped ferry the earthen bricks to the hut’s location, surrounding the hut with circles of bricks ready to use
- the community had collected river sand which was moved by wheelbarrow or cart to the hut site so it could be mixed with water from the bore hole plus bags of cement mix to make the cement
- daily, the builder made lunch for his crew on a small open fire inside the hut area
- over twelve rows of bricks needed to be laid in a very specific pattern, making sure any excess cement was wiped away
- once the bricks were laid, then the entire inside wall area needed to be plastered with more cement
- the bare dirt floor area also needed to be smoothed and coated with cement
- the outside wall also needed to be plastered and a cement and brick veranda apron needed to be made
- the last step was to install a metal door and window to make sure the hut is secure
As the Agwata school continues to develop, more students are attending classes, and additional teachers are hired which causes more teacher huts to be needed! Two teachers whoShoveling river sand inwere living with families in the community, moved into the headmaster’s older, smaller hut after its leaky roof was repaired. In Uganda, it is customary for school’s to provide housing for its teachers. So, if you want to attract good teachers, you want to provide the best housing possible. In rural areas in the north, this is often mud and thatch huts. We made our headmaster’s hut extra special by using a layered thatch roof, and bricks with cement, rather than plain mud and sticks, for the walls.
Headmaster Thanks U.S. Volunteers for a Job Well Done!
Headmaster Opio was quite excited that work on the hut had progressed so rapidly during the week. At the conclusion, with only some outside plastering and installation of the door and window remaining, he calmly proclaimed that indeed, it was “Very nice!”