Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Solomon Islands - Frame Up

We have only been here three days and already we have learned the routine. Get going at first light. It is as humid as a warm bath but at least the sun is not frying us. Work like crazy with the sweat sluicing off us. Hats are necessary first to keep the salty water out of our eyes, the sun off us a secondary role. Tool handles are slippery. Clothes cling - fortunately an open weave shirt (as open as sackcloth but not as coarse) I bought years ago in India is doing what it was supposed to do and the breeze shifts through it occasionally while the sun is kept off. All the locals are sensible people - they sit in the shade and watch us slave away. No amount of encouragement works - although one snowy haired young fellow is always keen to help while a couple of the men chip in every now and then. We work as hard as we can in the morning because, as regular as clockwork the rain tips down in the afternoon and washes us out. We rigged some canvas over the generator and kept going in the first couple of days but the talk at the moment is that we will be able to take the afternoons off since we have gotten ahead of the schedule a little. I have been impressed by the two professional carpenters who have taken this rosewood, rough cut from the jungle, and turned the framing into something that would not look too out of place on a building site at home. With a well drained slab however (it lifts in the middle) getting everything straight and square was a test of wit, builders shortcuts and patience. We fetched timber and laid it out while the professionals scratched their heads and muttered to themselves as they worked it out. Its clear this clinic is going to be the absolute best we can build. And damn it, this is infectious. I could easily stay here and do this forever - building something for those less resourced than us might be hot and sweaty and muscle aching work. But its a real pleasure that warms us all.
(Click on image for a better view)
April 2003


Anonymous said...


I am planning on travelling to solomon islands and I am trying to find out some information from people who have travelled there in the past. If you could e-mail me it would be great to have contact with someone who has spent some time there.


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