Thursday, September 13, 2012

Fiji: Global Village Journal

Fiji - Global Village Journal from Mike Hammerquist, Habitat EKC Construction Site Supervisor and Global Village volunteer

September 1, 2012
Fiji is beautiful and the people are extremely friendly.  We spent several hours walking, seeing the sites. There are churches, a mosque, and a Hindu temple within several miles of the hotel. On our first attempt to find the temple we found a McDonalds, a colony of fruit bats and a road that led off to the wrong part of town. After back tracking to the hotel and eating lunch (Bombay pizza), we tried again and made it further on foot, then got on a bus. We had a local take us under her wing and she led us through the market to the temple (pic).
So far the team seems to be a good fit and we had a good time  being tourists together today and I think we will work well at the site.
September 4, 2012
We are working at Koroipita (Peter's Village) outside Latoka. We arrived late in the afternoon and received a briefing and a tour from Peter himself. His model rents a simple home to slum residents or squatters at $1NZ per day. This includes water, garbage, a nurse station, and schooling for the children (with a preschool and computer lab onsite).
We will be building a simple wood frame structure (with lots of strapping) on a concrete foundation, covered by corrugated steel roof and siding. They are designed to withstand the 300kph winds that can come with the typhoon season. They are also required to plant vegetable crops, compost scraps, and maintain erosion control systems. It seems to be a well though out planned community. Peter became involved through the local Rotary Club, but couldn't get big grants to do the work because his Rotary Club was fairly small. He finally brokered a deal where Habitat manages the money from the New Zealand Aid grant and ensures accountability and adherence to the grant requirements and he gets to work within those parameters to complete his plan.
Today (Tuesday) was the first working day and it began beautifully, but was rained out a little after 3:30. We started with a bare foundation on 2 homes and framed and sheathed the floors and built 4 walls and nearly finished the first wall we will stand. There are 2 parts to the homes, with a kitchen/ bath/ toilet separated from the living area with a breezeway.
September 7, 2012

We were rained out at 2pm on the second day and it drizzled all morning on the 3rd day, but has cleared up and hot weather from here on out! The mud is what the site supervisor calls the "perfect clay", as it is both sticky  and slick. I frequently ended up wit 3" of mud on the bottom of my boots. Within 12 hours of the rain stopping the ground was solid again and we worked to chip off the dried mud from the day before.

Much was accomplished even with the briefing/ site tour the 1st day and 2 rain shortened days. We are building 2 houses intended for older couples without children at home and abandoned mothers only a few children. They are next to each other and we are sharing a generator and chop saw. The build is well organized and the local crew leaders know the buildings, so progress is impressive(pic). We should finish up on Tuesday or Wednesday and move on to punch list tasks on other homes the previous teams couldn't finish.
On Friday at lunch the Kinder Care kids sang us a couple of songs (pic) then the villagers served us lunch.


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