I’ve definitely settled into a rhythm.
6:00 a.m. wakeup every morning. Take my malaria pill. Brush teeth. Pack bag with work gloves, water, and snack. Eat breakfast comprised of eggs and beans. Walk with my nine other team members along the same path that goes past the cow stable, then school, then three village houses (the last of which houses Madina, our favorite baby girl that greets us excitedly every morning).
Work is demanding physically and mentally. The rocks that build the bridge’s foundation are carried one-by-one on the shoulders and heads of the workers. I appreciate the construction process so much more knowing the structure is built literally “brick-by-brick.” The workers are tireless, never stopping and always keeping their spirits high. I’ve learned so much from them about techniques for digging, carrying, building rebar cages, cutting beams – everything. I definitely feel myself getting stronger. I can carry heavier rocks and dig for much longer than I could two weeks ago. Also, I’m handling the long work day much more effectively and keeping my mind on the task. I still have a long way to go in terms of learning – I take a bit too many breaks, I can be a bit lazy. As the weeks continue I hope to keep improving and working on my weaknesses.
(There is no better music than the sound of a new rock delivery)
I’ve settled into a rhythm, but I’m definitely more relaxed, too.
I’ve made friends with many of the workers. After work we play soccer or basketball. Every night they casually stop by to say hello, eat dinner with us, and listen to music. On Thursdays after payday, we hang out in the village and celebrate. On the bridge construction site, there is certainly work, but there is also play. I love learning Kinyarwanda from the workers, and they are equally curious about learning English. One of my main goals for the project is to improve in Kinyarwanda.
(We taught Eric how to sing “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes”)
Even after two weeks, we’ve come a long, long way. I’ve gotten to climb mountains at sunset, meet masons from last years project, enjoy a goat grill out, get to know my team members when we talk late into the night about everything from food to college memories to future goals.
I can’t wait to see what’s next.