Making mud bricks in Nampangala.

One of John’s projects is brick making. The process is started by digging into the fine sand of an ant hill / nest . These are very common. Thanks to the actions of the ants the mud tends to be very fine. Heaps are made and mixed with water to make a thick moist clay like texture. This moisture is retained for a few days, remixed and remoistened if necessary. After another rest the mud is placed in moulds to form the bricks. These are then stacked to slowly dry. To prevent any rain from damaging the bricks they are covered with grass, banana leaves or anything at hand. Sufficient bricks are accumulated in this way.

Once there is enough to build a stack for firing the stack is built, perhaps about fifteen feet high. Mud is smeared over the stack and left to dry.

Three ports, generally, are built into the stack. Fires are lit in each port and kept burning for many hours, often through the night. Once sufficient heat has been generated the ports are sealed with bricks and mud.

After a considerable cooling process of cooling the stack can be unsealed and dismantled as and when required.

England feels cold!

Well, here I sitting on my big suitcase on the train from Gatwick Airport to Kampala, only kidding, to Polegate my nearest railway station to home.

It’s been a long day following a short night’s sleep. Bedtime was after midnight and the alarm was set for 03.30. Robert, our super taxi driver was picking us up at 04.30 to take us the short journey to Entebbe. Robert had picked us up from Kampala on Wednesday evening and we reached the hotel sometime after 11.00pm.

There was an emotional parting at the airport. Lillian and I have created an amazing bond during our two months together. I had to keep reminding her that it’s not goodbye but ‘see you next time’. Even so it was a wrench parting.

The flight started slightly early at 06.45am and was short and sweet. From Kigali in Rwanda to Brussels and then to Gatwick was long long long.

But, here I am nearly home. More blog post tomorrow, your weary blogger.

It’s not goodbye.

Saying goodbye seems so permanent, so instead I’ve been saying ‘see you next time ‘.

As I sit here on a bus heading for Kampala I’m happy to think there will be a next time. This trip has been extra expensive due to the tools that were handed over. Many more tools could be added to the relatively basic kits that the three friends now have. I’ll be looking at ways for fund raising once I have my feet back on the ground at home.

I have no regrets about this trip. It has been a life changing and life enhancing experience. During this time I have been welcomed into the families of my three friends, that’s one hell of an extended family.

The photo with this post is Lillian, her mum (I only know her as mum), Willy and Mark (Lillian’s cousins who are staying with mum. Willy has been staying there during Senior School and will soon be off to university. Mark has just started Primary School close by but his family home is some distance in a small village).

It’s not goodbye to the blog either. There’s more to tell and I intend to add more details in the next few days, and even then the story will not come to a complete end.