HFHI Global Village Cape Town, South Africa – Work Day 2

Another scorcher building in Pelican Park today.  It was 85 to 90 degrees in the shade with a whipping wind today.  The wind coming from the nearby ocean blows across the site with ease as there are no barriers at the moment to block its progress.  A lot of sand and dust flew around today making it necessary to wear eye protection and sometimes even masks.  Still, in just two days we see the fruits of our labor.  The walls keep getting taller!  It’s extremely satisfying, as tired as you may feel at times, to see the results.  The house is the tangible and measurable asset of your investment.

So far four primary jobs we have on site.  We form long lines to pass concrete block to get it where it needs to be in order for the professional masons to build the walls.  We also mix a lot of dugah (mortar).  Today two of the interior walls needed to be filled with sand (there are holes in the blocks and once you lay them they form long hollow columns).  As the masons build the walls, we take small amounts of mortar to fill the joints on the surface of the wall and then smooth them.  Oddly enough, we find this is a job that is best done simply with your hand as long as you have the right gloves.

We are working on four homes.  Although they are semi-detached, so all four houses sit on one site and one concrete slab and the exterior walls.  Finished they will look like 4 single story town houses.  Each day we also work alongside a different group of employee volunteers from a South African company.  It’s interesting to talk to another group of locals in addition to the Habitat staff and the masons.

It’s definitely heavy lifting and what energy we don’t expend on the worksite is easily finished off in the company of new friends at dinner every evening.

Good stuff.

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