April 2022 1st home

“The purpose and mission of the Africa Relief and Sustainable Development Association (dba Aid 4 Africa) is to support efforts for relief of hunger and poverty in African people and efforts at stainable development in African Communities made by existing African NGO entities.” With this in mind, we were in the process of preparing to aid in drilling a well in Tanzania. As we were preparing, we heard of a young mother of 4 that was living in a mud dwelling that was damaged by flood waters. After discussion, the board members unanimously voted to help. Here is a video of her house after the flood, taken by Rose Menei who is a member of Tanzania Relief and Sustainable Developement, TRSD, in Africa.

Here is Momma Shikira with her youngest child, just as community members are arriving to start demolition on her house. I never did find out her name. In Tanzania, the mother will take on her oldest child’s name, thus, Momma Shikira. One last look at her home. She must have been anxious. As you follow this progression, I hope you notice her facial expressions change as hope, confidence then happiness fills her heart.

Demolition of Momma Shikira’s home goes fast! The house is made of sticks, string and mud, with a tin roof. Mr. Odhiambo supervises as Emanuel and Remy help take down the front wall. Notice the man moving the block in the background. These are some of the blocks that Momma Shikira has been purchasing one at a time, for, who knows how long. This is one of the things that got my attention early on when we first heard of her plight. Shikira, her oldest child, looks on as the last wall falls. She is standing by a make/shift shelter that they stayed in during the construction process.

I was standing next to a friend and noticed Mr. Odhiambo, his son Kennedy, the contractor and another man, standing in a circle discussing things and drawing in the dirt. I said, “I have no idea what they are saying, but I KNOW what they are doing!” Sure enough, they were “sketching” the layout of the house!

In the USA, we dig down to solid ground and start with form boards, steel rebar and concrete footing. Then a concrete or block stem wall. In Tanzania, they dig down and start with 3 courses of block and mortar joints then put the form boards on top with the rebar and concrete. Momma Shikira’s hope is shown in her face as she looks at the progress on her new home. Her youngest is thinking of other things…

Progress! Once the community got started, walls went pretty fast! Belief, hope, belonging! With youngest in tow, Momma Shikira’s expression says it all! No translator is needed to understand…

Structure over the doors and windows is done by duplicating the process that was done at the foundation stage; Form boards are placed all along the top of the walls, over the openings, and then rebar is placed in with concrete being poured to finish the structural part. I was explaining to my friend Innocent and Emanuel how we do it in Washington State, USA. We use timber beams to put across the openings. Mr. Odhiambo stands to the side, since he and I had just had this conversation. Notice the water line on the local market store wall behind us.

Momma Shikira’s house was built in about a week! Community members came together and did a fine job on helping her make this house a home. As a builder, it was good to see the facia and the framing of the roof. Feel free to reach out to me with questions at joej@aid4africa.com

Momma Shikira’s house was listing heavily and crumbling from the seasonal flood waters. It was made from what was affordable and available. She was a vigilant mom and dedicated to sheltering and nurturing her 4 children, what ever it took. You can see where she tried to shore up the bottom of the walls, but it wasn’t lasting. Now she has a house she can make a home for her and her children! I remember when I first met her. She was sitting on the ground, braiding the hair of one of the village women. This is how she supported her children and purchased blocks, one by one, for her future home. Now, I can visualize her on her covered porch, under cover from the rain, braiding hair of village women, with a smile on her face and confidence for her future and the wellbeing of her children!

Smile/confidence progression. Momma Shikira’s countenance speaks volumes of how she felt from start to finish. She is a good example of never giving up! I’m so happy for her and her family!

March 2024 2nd Home

Momma Philemon and her 3 children live in a house made of sticks and mud. Over time, it started to fall apart. We had some extra funds from the 3rd well project and thought we could help this family with a safe, dry place to live. Momma Philemon is a hard worker at a rock quarry. She breaks stones into usable sizes. In addition to her 3 children, she has her momma living with them.

Above is a short video of the house before demolition started

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