Under the scorching sun, it was solid labour, sweat and cracking backbones. Day end, the placid cool Masindi breeze
Under the scorching sun, it was solid labour, sweat and cracking backbones. Day end, the placid cool Masindi breeze, whizzed past two yet new under construction buildings worked upon to window altitude.
Thumbs up for an odd, but politely referred to as an unskilled (in building slung) gang of 25 volunteers from mobile phone giant MTN.
Last Saturday, as part of its corporate social responsibility, two-dozen MTN staff descended on one of the Habitat for Humanity construction project site in Kasita in Masindi. With precision, they â€˜assembledâ€™ two houses in Masindi.
The sound of spades, burrowing deep into soggy motar, shrieking wheelbarrows, flying bricks, and yawning mumbles of exhaustion, typified the day, as the yellow T-shirt donning volunteers, rested one brick course after another, edging closer to another dwelling unit by the minute.
â€œMTN sponsors an average of 20 houses per year through Habitat for Humanity. So far, the company has built around 250 housing units,â€ the sweat-soaked MTNâ€™s public relations manager, Philip Besimire said as he cheered on his working team.
Habitat for Humanity Uganda is a Christian-based NGO that works with the poor people to build good homesteads.
Sebastian Wakhooli, the field development manager, says the 12-year old NGO operates in 18 districts in Uganda and has so far participated in putting up 3866 houses, building between 300 and 400 houses annually. The cost of each house, excluding the cost of the plot is sh2.5m. The beneficiaries contribute 20% of the total building cost and Habitat for Humanity tops up the balance. The owner of the house pays the remaining balance of sh2m over a period of ten years. Each year, MTN contributes money for the construction of 20 houses.
â€œApart from the money we donate as part of our corporate social responsibility, we also annually get volunteers who participate in physically building the houses,â€ Besimira, who had since proved to be a consultant in brick laying, continued with his comments as construction work advanced.
By lunchtime, the hard working gang of men and women had mastered all the hi-tech details of brick laying, doing their work with zeal, precision and particular commitment.
Each person had specialised in one field or another. Some supplied bricks through a human chain, others, in the right proportion, blended sand and cement, while the rest did the brick laying.
As the sun sank deep into the clouds, two new houses had been raised to window rank. And the cocktail and the buffet that awaited the labourers at Hotel Victory Bijja in Masindi after a day of toil and hard labour was well deserved.
MTN houses Masindi residents