Today we completed building the concrete platform upon which our polytank and blue drums will stand. We began the day with a trip to the market to fetch some supplies, namely the three blue 250 L drums. We somehow managed to fit both the supplies and ourselves in our small truck and began the journey to Kpaniyili. Once we arrived, we unloaded the drums from the truck bed and replaced them with about 10 villagers, all of whom agreed to help us finish building the stand. Several others followed suit on their bicycles and together we all ventured to the designated spot where we had begun building yesterday. The people of Kpaniyili had already filled the stand, so cementing remained the only step left in the construction process.
We watched as the mason went to work, combining sand, gravel and water to make the cement. Once the mixing process was complete, we covered the top and sides of the stand with a thick layer of this hand-mixed cement. Everyone reached in and grabbed a handful, including ourselves, but the villagers were much better at laying the cement than we were. Nevertheless, determined to contribute, we continued to try. If anything, our efforts served as a great source of entertainment and many of the men got a good laugh. Once the entire structure had been cemented and smoothed over, our translator and each CWS Fellow carved his or her name into the top. Several of the men assisting us placed their handprints alongside our names – a symbolic tribute to the cooperation and collaboration of efforts that went into this entire process.