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Swawou Project Week 09 - Meet Our Workers


Bobby is our mortar mixing man. On site doing the heavy labour from the very beginning, he has stayed with us from the very first day we hired him as a labourer and is one of the most hardworking workers on site. Every morning when we arrive, he has already begun to start mixing, he mixes throughout lunch as the masons require mortar and is back to work before the end of lunch to ensure the masons have mortar waiting for them. He is one of the oldest workers on site and also one of the smallest; a respected man amongst his fellow workers, he takes pride in his work and does us proud every day. A wonderful man to have involved in the site, a grandfather and all round quiet but bubbly chap.


Gadafi, as he was introduced to us, turned up at the beginning of the works on site. Not as big and powerful as some of the other labourers he wasn’t suited to the hard rock crushing, earth moving and foundation digging, but had a way of managing the workers and some organisational skills which have just blossomed and strengthened over time. He is now our general site foreman, has the keys to the store, is the first to arrive every morning and prepares the workers for our arrival. He is a jack-of-all-trades, currently steel bending over 100 stirrups a day with our on site steel bender, and helping with carpentry when needed. He fetches us things at knock down prices, brings us good workers when we need additional labour, and he suggests how he thinks the work could be improved whether that be the workers moral, needs, time constraints, or complaints. He handles a lot on site, and we are lucky to have him with us. Strung in more than three different directions at all times “GADAFI, get me this”…”GADAFI, can you bring that”…”Gadafi, will you tell us this”…a smart young man with a fantastic way with people, enthusiasm for what we are creating and an ambitious individual.


Salia started with us breaking rock and ground cover digging for the foundations. He’s dug all the foundations, shifted tons of earth, compacted earth, poured concrete, mixed concrete and is now responsible for tools taken from our on site tool bag. Any item taken must go through him and he collects everything at the end of the day and reports anything missing. These last few weeks he has shown an interest in helping the masons and so is beginning to learn a new set of skills through doing that. It’s a different type of work, one that requires skill and thinking, and he is adapting easily. It’s extremely useful to have masonry helpers who can observe from the ground any mistakes the masons might be making and double check with ourselves if what they’re doing is correct. Salia is an extremely reliable and hard working individual. A bundle of laughs, and a good conversationalist.