ZamSquad16 - Construction
I've been overwhelmed at writing a blog post about the ZamSquad because how can you fit so much activity into just one blog post - so I'm going to break it down into several parts. Today, we're covering the construction part of our trip! :)
I'll admit that I was real hesitant about taking a team to Zambia with Love Abounds this year. I didn't think Love Abounds was ready. I didn't know what the team would accomplish. I didn't know if it would be worth my time or theirs. And because I had so much uncertainty about it, I honestly really didn't want to take a team trip at all. I agreed to the trip only because David really wanted to give it a shot and wow, I've never enjoyed being proven wrong more.
I can't say it enough - we had an absolutely amazing trip.
We couldn't have handpicked a better team for our first trip. From the first flight out of Boston to the very last day, we all had fun and meshed so well together. Each person brought their own amazing talents and personalities to the team. It was amazing to watch each of them contributing to Love Abounds' vision and purpose (without even really being asked)!
Our time in Zambia was a perfect mixture of work and pleasure. We had one major goal to accomplish in Kunchubwe Village - build a division in the Chicks Empowered chicken house. In November, the ladies and I discussed goals and decided all their savings (30% of their profits) would go towards this one big project. It was exciting to see the realization on their faces that their goal had finally been met!
The ladies were excited to get to work on the division but were even more grateful to let the boys do all the work for them! It was amazing to watch our team and the ladies working side-by-side and reminded me how much trust they've put in us to follow through with promises.
To divide the chicken house required two major things: 1. Build a wall dividing the house in two 2. Bust a hole through an outside wall for a door
Sounds simple enough, right? Wrong. Like most things, simple tasks in the village can be quite frustrating. Tools and resources are simply not readily available. At one point the boys needed a saw to cut some lumber, word spread in the village that they needed a saw and 2 hours later a young teenager shows up with the "village saw" for the boys to use. Of course, they no longer needed the saw - they ingeniously used a power drill to drill a line of small holes along the lumber and then kicked it into two!
Its not easy to prepare mentally for the frustrations of working in a rural village. Before our first day of construction, I reminded everyone to just try to be as patient as possible, but sometimes its not easy. Our team did an incredible job at adjusting to the "This Is Africa" mindset. They were patient, kept their cool in almost all situations, and took everything as it came. I was so proud of them!
We brought a heavy power tool called a hammer drill to knock out a hole in the outer wall of the chicken house. We knew we needed a generator but what we didn't consider was the MULTIPLE power adaptors we'd have to use to connect the tool to the generator. Within the first 5 seconds, one of the adaptors fried, rendering the power tool absolutely useless for the day. Our boys saw this complication as an opportunity to have fun manually knocking out the wall.
Of course, putting the door in wasn't as simple as we'd hoped. But when the guys had just about had enough, an older gentleman named Samson came and rescued the day! He helped get the door in perfectly - the boys said they couldn't have done it without him - and Samson simply did it out of the kindness of his heart.
One of my favorite parts about putting in the door was that we were able to give the chicken house some identity! Thanks to the talented, Chris, for painting meaningful and beautiful paintings on both doors to the chicken house! He even let me paint a little too! The women said with pride now when people ask they'll say "We're going to the Love Abounds house" :)
I think at times its easy to see a project like this and think its no big deal. It didn't cost a lot of money, it didn't take a lot of time, and it wasn't super difficult. From an outsiders perspective its not really a big deal. But when I look at this completed project I see 6 months of expectation, diligence, and perseverance. I see 7 ladies set personal records for goal setting and wonder what finish line can we train for next?
Thanks to Gavin, Noah, Chris, Tony, and David for the many hours of hard labor that made this division possible. But mostly a giant round of applause to our ladies for keeping their eyes on the prize - we're so proud of you!
Stay tuned for more ZamSquad tales next time on the blog... :)