It’s about time I finished up writing about the build so I can go on and do some posts on the other 2 1/2 weeks we spent in South Africa, Mozambique, and Swaziland. And then — who knows? — maybe even do some chronicling about the 4 months since we’ve been home!
Our fifth and final day was short but sweet. Actually, this day we got the absolute dirtiest, despite having worn somewhat nicer clothing for all the inevitable photos, many of which turned up later on the Mozambique Habitat website. The messiness was due to a little machine designed to spew liquid-y mortar onto the exterior of the house, giving it a textured finish. Here are three wielders of said machine–Oracio, 8, who is one of Angelica’s children and will live in the house, a friend of his, and Bill (getting the high places the kids can’t reach):
The rest of us, meanwhile, were inside one of the two rooms of the house flinging great gobs of mortar onto the walls, which were then smoothed down to a nice finish. It was so unwieldy to do this with gloves on that we all went bare-handed. So we were not only getting ourselves filthy, but a rain of the stuff from the above machines was flying in the windows, only one of which had a plastic sheet stretched over it. It was pretty hilarious.
At about 11 we all stopped for a special lunch (the scrawniest chicken I’ve ever seen, chopped into many many pieces so everyone got some) and then we had the closing ceremony. Many speeches were made and translated, many songs sung, everyone danced, and finally Bill (representing our family) and Angelica and her children went into the house, lighted a candle, and prayed. We had explained that in our (Quaker) tradition we pray silently, so they all sat in the main room while everyone else stood outside with hands on the walls, symbolically showing community support for the family and household.
After a while Margo and I, at one of the windows, decided the silence had gone on long enough. She tried to sneeze the words “say amen” in to Bill, who was oblivious. But eventually the ceremony ended and many group photos were taken:
And then we left, feeling extremely proud of what we had accomplished and amazed by what Habitat can do for so many families in Mozambique.