Planning for building started in the summer of 2009, and with Wangari still in the U.K it was left to her brother Peter to help supervise the work. Without his help it would have been almost impossible to start. At first it was necessary to clear and level the ground before the site could be marked out. Then the raw stones were hewed from a local quarry, manhandled onto a truck and brought to the site where the truck was unloaded, again by hand. If you think it looks like hard work, you are not wrong. These photos are from September 2009.
Once the ground was prepared and leveled the footings were dug out. Again the work was done by hand, and by mid September 2009 there were sufficient materials brought to the site for the build to be started. Broken stone was used to line the trenches and the floor areas, and again everything was manhandled into place.
As already mentioned, most of the heavy work here is done by hand, and that's true as well for mixing concrete. Ready-Mix doesn't deliver to Naivasha, and all the cement and concrete has to be hand mixed, and if the proportions aren't right there are likely to be problems with the integrity of the structure later on.
We can't emphasize enough just how hard the work was, and how little the workmen earn. The weather too does not help, it may be scorching hot, pouring with rain, or sometimes pretty cold. In the photos below you can see that every stone block has to be chipped into shape by hand, then lifted to its position in the wall. The shape of the school can be seen in the background, and it's at the stage when those blocks have to be lifted onto a makeshift wooden scaffold before being worked into place.
The first phase, the shells of the main classrooms, were almost finished by the end of 2009, and while work continued there, the second phase was started. These photos show the main classrooms in the background, with the floors of the kitchen and dormitory just under construction. Mixing and laying the cement screed was a major operation involving about 20 men with no mechanised help.
This second phase of the build was almost a repeat of the first, but by now the school was beginning to take shape. Work slowed when funds ran low, then picked up again as more donations came in. Eventually the emphasis turned to planning and equipping the inside of the school ready for the first children. The last photo shows the classrooms completed, with the dormitory and kitchen almost ready to have windows and doors fitted.
You can see more photos of the school in "The Second Year" section