Russ arrived in the afternoon on Thursday while Nat and I were out. When we returned from town he had already assembled his team from Kampala – a collection of local tradesmen named Steven, Simon, Ben, Richard and Joel. These guys had worked with Russ and Bill during past renovation projects at Mengo Hospital. They sat in the bright front room of Jjaja Gwen’s Guest House, the tradesmen listening to Russ and offering the occasional suggestion in carefully selected words. The tradesmen were briefed on the project details. They are skilled men and will make the project happen much more quickly and they will be paired with workers in Bwera to maximize skill transfer. Everyone is excited.
The six days after that meeting were to be used to gather equipment that would be necessary to build the school. We would also need to meet with pest control experts, to decide the best methods of termite deterrence, prepare for setting up and living in a tented camp and organize transportation to Bwera – 8 hours away.
We have decided that I will leave for Bwera on Wednesday with Russ and the five tradesmen in a rented truck. Nat will stay in Kampala to arrange the purchase of a permanent vehicle and will come out to Bwera with John, Gill, and Charles by the weekend.
Nelson, our contact in Bwera and the director of Cobra (our partner organization), is very excited to see us and is working hard to prepare the site for our arrival. He is determined to make this project a success. We spoke with him yesterday. We had asked him to get some dimensional timber a few weeks ago but he could not find some of the 18-20’ pieces we requested. When we spoke with him he had assembled a team and was felling trees in the forest and was planning on milling them before our arrival. Freshly milled trees were not quite what we had imagined but the effort speaks volumes of the local commitment to this project.