When last we left off, we were sitting patiently under a shade tree waiting for the gravel and cement trucks to appear at Bentouryah. We hope you enjoyed your break, because the real work is just about to begin...
As promised, Monsieur Djouma sent representatives from his fleet of dump trucks that, amidst great clouds of red dust and rumbling, made their deposits of sand and gravel in big piles at Bentouryah.
Several tons of cement were purchased, and the water truck came to fill the cistern. These trucks would be the last machines to be involved in the work at this stage - the rest was literally pure manpower.
Before our lack of funds caused our work to pause, Amadou the brickmaker would form thousands upon thousands of bricks using only his shovel, a brickmold, a strong back, and loads of patience for working in the subtropical heat.
After mixing all the ingredients, Amadou quickly shoveled the heavy gray mixture into his brick mold with smooth, decisive, well-practiced strokes. He then tamped down firmly on the thing, flipped it over, and carefully slid away the mold, leaving his perfectly-formed brick to dry in the sun. The process was not unlike the final steps of making a pineapple upside-down cake, which, while tasty, is considerably less impressive than the bricks.
Anyway, after three days, Amadou had made so many bricks, he needed more cement and took a day or two off while we repeated our purchasing steps.
The final product was rows and rows of beautiful bricks, baking away in the sun and waiting to be made into Nimba's perimeter wall.
We are immensely excited about these first steps in building the Nimba Center, and we are especially proud that each and every brick was made possible by donations from our community of African dance practitioners, artists, environmentalists, humanitarians, activitsts and supporters. While most of us do not live in Guinea, we are still engaged in a powerful community-building process because our funds come from you, our friends and supporters, and not one wealthy single source. We think it makes the Nimba Center even more special of a project that we have to work together to make it happen.
While we are thrilled with our progress so far, we're a long, long way from completion, and we need your help more than ever to keep our construction projects ongoing. Our goal is to finish the perimeter wall, a necessary security measure, complete our two existing houses so that our workers have a place to stay, and begin building the little cazas that will house Nimba's guests.
We hope to have enough structures built by next winter so that visitors can escape the bustle and fumes of Conakry and focus on dance and drum at Bentouryah while they take in the lovely mountain vistas and enjoy its fresh air and cooler breezes. Donate here or contact us to make your contribution to our global community effort. We need your support now!
Well, it's been a hard day's work. Stay tuned for next week when Nimba hits the road, and check out our traveling tales, photos of some of Guinea's prettiest places, and find out how three dancer-nurses from Arizona made giant steps for Nimba. Until then, as they say in Susu, Oooooo! (Goodbye!)