10 months ago we broke ground on our first building for the African Children’s Project and today, I am happy to announce the building is COMPLETE!!
On Saturday, our final day of work, I stood in front of the building admiring the work that had been completed over these last 10 months. I stood remembering all of the different mistakes we had made, but can’t see now. I remembered all of the fantastic workers we had working on our site who many of them I now call my friends. So, I thought today, as I announce the completion of our first building, I would share some of my thoughts from that day and all that has happened in the last 10 months.
The process took a bit longer than we expected. We have learned a lot along the way. We have made some mistakes (but none that anyone will be ever to see- read Electrical Installations). We have had some great successes. We even got lucky the way things worked out a few times. We had great favor with the weather and it never really slowed us down. But most importantly, God blessed and orchestrated everything and gave us favor all along the way.
At one point in time, I counted that we have had more than 8 different Kenyan tribes represented in our work force. We have had both men and women working and even had 2 female interns working and learning about masonry work.
The only injuries we had were nails stuck in the feet on 2 different occasions, and one worker passed out one day but I am happy and blessed to report there were no major injuries!
I learned a lot about construction processes in Kenya. I was never a building contractor in the US, but I have done drafting work for Architects while in college and have done a number of construction projects with my dad. So I understood a fair amount about construction before coming to Kenya. But they certainly do some things very different here.
The guys we were working with learned a lot about doing things with excellence while working on this mzungu (white guy) building. They came to learn and understand that anything worth doing is worth doing well. They needed to re-do some things a few times to make sure it was done right. Laying the blocks for the walls on the ground floor took a lot of time to understand how to work with the blocks, making sure they were straight and level and the joints were lined up. But by the time we got to the upper floor walls, we were all professionals!
I also learned a lot about procuring materials for the project. Our contract with the builder was only for the labor-I was tasked with procuring all of the materials we would need for the construction. This would have been much easier with a Home Depot or Lowes with fixed prices. But, no I had to go to many different small hardware shops on a daily basis, many times multiple time a day to go and find the best prices on all of the materials we needed. I made sure that I went to many different shops to share the business throughout the town, but I did have a few specific shops that I frequented because they gave me good prices, were very helpful, friendly, and made me feel welcome in their shops. Unfortunately there were others that were not friendly, so they decided they didn’t need my repeat business. Too bad for them. Those places have a lot to learn about customer service.
Our next step is now to Feather the Nest. Thank you so much to all those who responded to our Feather the Nest campaign. I am now in the process of using that money and buying all of the furniture, appliances, kitchenware, and everything we need for the home. Some of these things we will just buy from the supermarket, but others will be made by local fundis (skilled worker) as we need them. Yesterday, I contracted with a welding fundi to make all four metal bunk beds.
Now that Phase 1 is complete, we move onto Phase 2 of hiring staff and bringing in orphans. We are currently in process of getting some important foundational documents written and edited to begin hiring for our social worker and the parents who will live in the home, adopting the children. We are also continuing to make visits to other local children’s homes so that we can learn from them as we get started.
We would appreciate your prayers and support as we enter into this next phase of the project.