Sydney Architect Jillian Hopkins sent the following update to SCA:
Greetings from Malawi!
We are now over four months into the construction of the FOCHTA Vocational Training Centre and picking up speed again as the rains approach. The main school building is up to sill level, awaiting the arrival of windows and doors. Meanwhile, the workers are busy clearing away site spoil, building the driveway and entry ramps and setting up the landscaping levels in the courtyard.
This week the masons did an expert job at constructing the circular garden bed and seat in the centre of the courtyard – it was tricky work to make the tight corners with the local stabilized soil blocks, but they managed to trim the edges to perfection. The masons have also been finishing off the curved brick fences around the compound. After many headaches and a few minor demolitions, the finished effect is excellent. I have even been told that the curved walls have caused a stir in the neighbourhood, with locals gossiping about how they are made and marveling at the construction!
The plumber and carpenter have also arrived on site this week, so the sewage system and septic tanks are progressing at last. The effluent trench drainage system will be a first for the area and a good demonstration model.
Today the skies are rumbling ominously and threatening to bring the seasonal rains. I am hopeful that the deluge will hold off long enough for the roof to go on. In the meantime, I am enjoying cheap and delicious mangos and trying to keep cool (and keep my cool) in the pre-rain heat!
Best wishes to all,