By Niamh Ní Chuanacháin
Until we arrived at the Young Africa campus in Beira it was difficult to visualise our project of rebuilding “huts”. I’m sure all the volunteers had various pictures painted in their heads of what to expect but when we got to see the older huts first-hand and one house, which was half way to completion, which are replacing the huts, we were all in awe. The comparison is unimaginable. The huts were made of a minimal amount of bricks, mesh and a tin roof in contrast with the new house, which was cleverly constructed on top of the foundation and minimal walls from the old hut, which is much taller due to the increase of bricks (made from compacted sand in Dondo). It was brilliant that that Young Africa students had started house 1 before we came as this gave us to ability to visualise the result of our volunteer trip here. With a week done already we have made lots of progress on houses 2 and 3 with 1 almost fully complete. Tasks varied from digging holes and mixing cement and concrete to making pillar structures from metal rods. In the process of this we got to meet the most amazing Young Africa students. There are 15 girls and boys (with an even ratio of both) studying construction here and they are the ones setting the pace for us. Their remarkable work ethic is inspirational. All the students show great strength by lifting heavy loads without a struggle and they maintain a fast pace to ensure the project is completed in a timely manner. In contrast with Ireland I find it incredible how here nothing is put to waste, almost everything which was removed from the previous huts is being reused in some shape or form to make these houses. This shows how there is no need for all new materials and for example modern lifting technology on a construction site, as this site proves all you need is committed manpower. I have been blown away this past week by Young Africa and especially the relationships we have formed with the students. I am looking forward to the next 3 weeks to continue learning more and more from the wonderful people here and completing our work on the houses.