Multiplex's Andrew Murray is impressed by the onsite skills of the locals working on a charity building project in South Africa but finds the tools a little blunter than the ones back home.

Tuesday, 28 March 2006

The door frames installed yesterday need gaps filled. I do this using a muck mixture of sand/soil/cement and water. Klinklu, who lives on the property with his wife and baby boy, is a deft hand using his native materials.

Next Owen, Mehul and I break builderswork holes through the blockwork for the shower gulleys. This proves difficult using old, blunt drill bits. The shower gully is a simply P-trap and 1.25in PVC pipe, no different to a domestic UK installation.

Later we are invited for a game of football with the children. We're all tired but the kids have obviously been looking forward to it all day. It's a fun game and their ball skills are impressive.

Wednesday, 29th March 2006

A good breakfast of cereal, muesli, yoghurt and scrambled eggs. The sun is shining and it looks like its going to be a nice day.

Today Mehul and I break out the blockwork for the toilets. We have similar problems with tools, having to labour with a drill and one blunt masonry drill bit, a chuck that won't tighten properly and a hammer and bolster that isn't fit for the job. We persevere and in the end break through the wall.

Dinner tonight is chicken and rice, shared with the children. They only get served meat dishes on Sundays and Wednesdays. It is an experience and they eat everything that they are served, including chewing on the chicken bones.

Thursday, 30th March 2006

I assist Klinklu in plastering the showers. The mix is the same local sand/soil/cement and water, just in a different ratio for this application. Klinklu is a plasterer by trade and it shows as he applies the first coat. After breakfast we start to do a skim coat and I help. Its hard work and I am getting an appreciation for the difficulties of this trade and the skill of those that perform it.

Dinner is an enormous bowl of pasta and mince meat that we cannot get through between us. We are being looked after very well by the ladies in the kitchen.