On July 12, after 10 straight 10+ hour days for us (and even longer for our builders), we finished the reinforced concrete slab. This was a joyous occasion not only because it marked the end of the substructure, but also because it marked the end of having to work with Madzi Building Contractors. Despite our differences the contract came to an end amicably and we went our separate ways.

That weekend we headed to Mount Mulanje with the other four Kabula Hill residents - Julie, Christy, Lauren and Cherise - and met up with some Peace Corps volunteers for the Porter's Race. Alex and six of the PCV's decided to take on the 25 km (15.5 mile) 4,500 ft. climb up, across and back down the elevated Mulanje plateau. Needless to say none of us finished anywhere close to the winner who completed the race in just over 2 hours!

Last Monday, July 15, we began a new labor arrangement on site with Symon Mogombo, our electrician, as site manager and Nelson Chipula, a fuzzy gray-haired 70-some year old Malawian, as site foreman. We expected an adjustment period of about 2 weeks but were pleased to discover that after just a few days things were running much smoother on site. Both Nelson and Magombo share our desire for efficiency, organization and quality workmanship. 

The column work on the factory was going smoothly enough that on Thursday of last week we began digging the foundation for the 200 sq. m (2,150 sq. ft) office building about a month ahead of schedule.

With things running the way they are currently we find ourselves with some free time that we're not quite sure what to do with. Unfortunately it has been rather cool lately, as low as mid-40s at night and mid-60s during the day, which is pretty cold when you live in a concrete structure with no insulation! And as a result we haven't been very motivated to recreate outdoors. We have started playing some Settlers of Catan, however, which Julie brought with her from the States.
02/14/2015 10:11pm

Needless to say none of us finished anywhere close to the winner who completed the race in just over 2 hours!

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    Mark and Alex are attempting to use their limited experience as factory builders to erect a production facility for Project Peanut Butter in Blantyre, Malawi. Upon completion the factory will produce chiponde, a peanut butter-like paste, to feed children suffering from acute malnutrition.

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