Bryan's Rwanda Experience 2009 travel blog

Moving large stones for the foundation.

Made bricks drying in the sun

The pit where they mix the dirt, grass and water to make...

Brick mold floating in mix water.

build site where the stones are laying

The muddy brick makers

bricks in the mold


First day for me on the building site. We met with the builders at the site in the morning and began by moving some of the stones that they will use for the foundation of the house. Notice there is no equipment found anywhere. It would have been a lot easier if there was a bobcat. Once we were told we had moved enough stones we were put on brick making duty. This was interesting. The guys in the pit were making the clay with the dirt, mixing it with grass and water. Once they created the proper consistency they shovelled the mixture out of the hole where we then took it to make the bricks. We created a line where we passed the balls of clay to where we made the bricks. We had to do it this way because when the clay is put in the mold the mold is removed and the brick needs to sit and dry for 3 days before it can be moved. When making the bricks we would wet the inside of the mold so the mold will come off the brick. Then we filled the mold with clay until it was level. Removed the mould and repeated. Many times.

I have to say it brought to mind what it must have been like for the settlers of Canada when they came over and built homes. Moving rocks and building houses out of clay bricks. Very interesting.

In our afternoon shift we did more and more of the same, building bricks. It felt like a long day in the sun. One thing I did notice is that the locals did not take much of a break at all. Not even for a drink. When we came back from lunch we brought them some food which they really appreciated. They ate while we continued.

Once the bricks are dried, and the foundation is in place they will start building the walls. We will not be involved with that part because the bricks will not be dry in time. Once the structure is in place the have to let the building dry in the sun for 30 days before they can put the cement on the floor and outside. The roof of this home will be corregated metal.

We noticed the house being built next to the one we are working with, is a local family build without the assistance of World Vision. Because the family does not have the money the foundation will be made of the clay bricks and not the stone. The stone has to be brought in for the foundation. We asked and the labour cost to build the local house next to ours is estimated to be about $1,200.00. Then there is the cost of the roof and door and windows. All the building material is free as it is found local on the job site.

I was there for a day and these workers are there every day, all day long. It gave me a real appreciation for how had these people work. This was one of many, many job sites you see as you are travelling around the country.

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