During our visit in 2014, Ernest expressed the wish to extend the grounds of Grace Orphan Care and provide the orphans with a sleeping facility for ten boys and ten girls. After getting to know the teachers and mentors at the center, we decided to support this endevour. Ernest began to work out a plan, which included the costs of construction, a floor plan of the building, employment of local workers and the final use of the dormitories.
Construction commenced at the end of 2015. Ernest kept up a lively corespondece with us regarding the construction, and in May 2016 we flew to Zomba to see the progress with our own eyes.
As reported, the foundation was already finished and the exterior brick walls were standing. Since the orphanage is located in very rough terrain, most bricks must be made on site. The bricks are produced by field firing. First, the blanks are poured in the open air. These are made of clay and cast in a wooden mold. After they've formed, the blanks are stacked in meter-high piles and the spaces between are filled with burning material. This is then ingnited and the firing process can take up to six weeks until the blanks have hardened into bricks.
We met the workers responsible for both the excavation and the masonry. This was not only to give them their wages, made possible by our supporters' donations, but also to get to know each of them personally. We also met and thanked the waterwomen, who had performed the back-breacking job of transporting water for the cement mixture from the nearby wells.
In the mean time, Ernest had fleshed out the blueprints even further. Stable concrete window lintels will be used, the inner walls of brick must be laid and a roofing contractor from Zomba has been commissioned. During the rainy season (when brick production cannot take place), there are other tasks around Grace Orphan Care. The walls of the hall will be painted white and the toilets for children should be renovated. A garden is in the planning stage.