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Swawou Project Week 05 - Bricks, Bricks And More Bricks!

What a wonderful week on site! The contracted masons turned up on site and made a start to the walls. Very exciting, and very happy to have them on site. We have a small team of women who bring the blocks over to the masons, and the masons' helpers who pick the best bricks for those that will be on show. The remaining bricks get used for the internal skin of brickwork which will be plastered over. The masons' helpers fetch mortar and tools for their respective masons and the masons lay the mortar, set the bricks, make sure they are all level and plumb, and square and then fill in the spaces with mortar and point the bricks.

Pointing has been a challenge, trying to get them to point small and not spread the mortar over the face of the bricks to ensure a smooth finish. We try to teach them that we want to see the uniqueness of the bricks and that the wall has character rather than them smoothing out the imperfections with mortar which is what they are used to and then plastering over the top. This building will be quite unique in Kenema and if not the whole of Sierra Leone. Exposed brick walls are very unusual and everyone comments that this will be an outstanding building. We have one girl who is going around cleaning bricks and she is single handedly making the building look beautiful.

We have a small team this week mixing mortar and sieving sand, and another small team shifting earth around the site to compact in the foundations of Block C and in and around the courtyard. The landscaping is also making such a difference as people slowly start to use the circulation routes within the design rather than walking through the building site and climbing over foundations and around bricks. We are getting to the stage where we are using doorways to access the rooms rather than clambering over the brickwork walls.