The next phase: the roof!

Hi everyone,

Through Facebook I updated you several times, but it was time to post a blog once more. I’m finishing up my last weeks here in Sohar, Oman and will return soon to Mpongwe, Zambia. There I will be busy with finishing the building of the school and paperwork concerning the school. Like developing a training for the future teachers, interview procedure, curriculum of Zambia, registration of the school and several forms for future pupils. Take a rest? No, but that’s not necessary. I will rest when my life is over 😉

Here are some pictures of how the school looks at the moment:

Indeed, the started with the roof. Sadly, the roofing sheets are way more expensive than I thought. The prices are rising in Zambia. The estimated costs of the roof will be way higher in the end. After my return in Zamiba I will check upon the administration and I have to see how and when we will finish the school. The building will be possible, but without tables and chairs it can’t open. But still, the goal is January 2018!

Our fundraising member Mieke had her birthday and her husband and children organised a surprise party for her. Now you may think: What is so special about that? Well, they didn’t asked for a present for Mieke, but for a donation to our school. And that donation came: 400 euros! Really beautiful, because this unexpected gift can go to these expensive roofing sheets. Dear family Peeters, thank you so much, again!

Well, I’m going to enjoy my few last weeks here in beautiful Oman and hear/see/speak to you the next time from Zambia!

Love,

Jennifer

It has started!

Hi everyone!

Jennifer arrived on 23th December back in Zambia for her Christmas holiday. But, it didn’t became a relaxing holiday. Work was there to be done. The goal was to do as much as possible before she had to leave for Oman again.

And so, it happened. Two loads and one load of stones were brought to the plot of the school. Besides this, we also arranged for another 3.000 bricks so that the builders have enough for a while. The sand and bricks were brought by the trucks of the same man and when he heard it was for a school, we got a reduction in price. Isn’t that nice?

The setting of the school was done and the foundation was dug. After this they started with making the concrete for the footing.

Sometimes they couldn’t work due to rain between all these stages, but oh, what else do you want in rain season. Also, we checked some prices in the city and decided on the size of the window frames. On the day that Jennifer went back to Oman, the workers started building the corners of the school.

 

Now it is of course necessary to ensure that we get enough donations, so the building can keep going. We are getting pretty close, but we’re not there yet. And the more donations, the faster can the school be built and who knows there is even money for furniture!

We are ready, you too?

 

Love,

Terry and Jennifer

Burn it!

Hi everyone!

Well, it’s time for an update. And of course this one will also go about materials, because that’s the phase we are in. 14961385_1264380053624885_472509430_n

The biggest part of the bricks are out of the hill: 3.000 to be exactly. The rain season is starting, so the workers would love to go to their field and plant some maize and beans. If they finished that, they will return to finish with the brickmaking.

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That’s why Terry has decided to burn the current pile of bricks. After this a huge piece of plastic will cover them, so that they will be protected against the rain (not that they can’t handle any!) (A short movie of the burning is found on the Facebook-page of the school).

Besides this, Terry also got already several loads of stones to the plot and he bought 50 pockets of cement. And a wheelbarrow, so that the builders have an extra one! But where do we put all these bags of cement? Well, just in the living room of our own small house on top of a pallet. A big amount of the pockets will be used for the foundation and the first layers of bricks.
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We also decided together that we will set the classroom block when Jennifer is at home with Christmas. In the time she is there, the setting and digging of the foundation will be done. Actually, Jennifer hopes they can also already do the foundation. But, she is only there for two weeks, so that would mean the workers have to work very, very hard!

Furthermore, in these weeks we want to see if we can order the window frames and buy the door frames. Even these will be stored in our small home. Maybe it isn’t that bad only one person lives there at the moment haha!

Warm regards,

Terry and Jennifer

Fundraising

houtschoolWhat is happening with the fundraising?

Zambia: Fundraising is not really the issue here. On this side, we try to get materials at a cheaper price or we try to decrease the labour costs. Actually, we try to make sure that the funds which get raised elsewhere are used as efficient as possible in Zambia.

Oman: In Oman we are trying to see if it is possible to raise some funds through the Dutch feast ‘Sinterklaas’. We want to raise some awareness for the school. The main reason for Jennifer’s stay in Oman is of course the school, so it often comes up in conversations. The end of the month is near, so it also means that Jennifer can transfer an amount of money to Zambia for the school.bakstenenschool

The Netherlands: The most activities take place in the Netherlands. A letter is written to the organization ‘Boeken steunen mensen’ (Books support people) and individual donations are made. The mother of Jennifer gets regularly materials that she can sell and the revenues are for the school. Furthermore, Jennifer’s old primary school (Phanta Rhei, previously named Kwistbeek) was enthusiastic and will try to see if they can be of some help (thanks to teacher Mieke).

Some other news from Zambia.

It will not be possible to get 6.000 bricks out of the hill, but only 4.000. They dug so far and hit gravel, which can’t be used for making bricks. But, the gravel isn’t a loss, because it can be used for filling up and equalizing the classrooms.

houtstenenschoolBesides this, wood has arrived for the burning of the bricks. At the moment 2.000 bricks are made and if the burning will start, the foundation can be dug also. Before that time we want to get sand, stones and cement, so that when the bricks are ready, the foundation is already finished and the building can start.

So, yes, we are busy!

Love,

Terry and Jennifer

Bricks and even more bricks..

The pictures already tell you where this blog is about: bricks. On the plot of the school we have a small hill which has to be gone before we start building. Terry has arranged people who can make bricks out of it for the school.

Well said, well done. After negotiating the price of the bricks and the wages for labour, Terry could pass along the good news to Jennifer and the readers of this blog.

The workers think that it’s possible to get 6.000 bricks out of the hill. If we check the estimations of the builder, we see that this will be half of the bricks we need. Normally the price for one brick is 1 or 1,5 kwacha, but Terry has arranged a way lower price. Why? It is of course our plot and we will buy all of the bricks immediatly. Now we only have to pay 0,5 kwacha, so only half of what we actually should have paid. Besides this, we also pay for labour, but transport costs for getting bricks from somewhere else would have been more expensive. Win-win! Saved costs: at least 300 euro!

Also, the money meter under the header ‘Donate’ is adjusted. We crossed the 3.000 euro line! Hooray! That means that 1/5 of the amount is in! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Warm regards,

Terry and Jennifer

PS. The first load of last week: 460 bricks! Lets do this!

 

Update!

Dear everyone,

The past time a lot happened. The pillars are built at each corner of the plot, so everyone now can see where the school plot will be.14269561_1204939016235656_1477987262_n.jpg

Besides this, Terry got a visit from three women from England, of which one of them is actually from Mpongwe. She founded a project by herself, a day care, just outside of Mpongwe. Jennifer has been here before and Terry now also visited. These women decided to come and see our plot and the future plans. Hopefully we can, in whatever way, work together in the future, because building bridges in a country like Zambia is very important and mostly you do it together!

2016-08-14 16.45.10.jpgFurthermore, several initiatives are coming our way and this is great to hear! We are looking if it is possible to executive all these initiatives. Someone is looking for a way to sell our souvenirs, others are reaching out to people who made donations before to similar projects and others are looking for a way to raise some money for Lotus Private School. A huge thanks to them, because in the end the school should be from everyone.

We also got some letterboxes as educational material for the school. We will definitely use them!13649469_1620293318281431_1312254778_n

On the website we adjusted the money meter (header ‘Donate’), because we got some new donations. Also, we finally got the quotation of the builder (header ‘The school’, then ‘Where do your funds go?’). The total amount of labour will be 1.550 euro. This means that the foundation will be dug, all the walls will be built, the window- and doorframes will be placed, the roof is done and the school will be plastered from the in- and outside. We are trying to remove a small amount of doing something by ourselves, like setting the school (Terry). Later on, we will also put the glass in the windows ourselves (Jennifer). The reduction may not be huge, but for this money we can buy doors or paint for the school. Every coin helps!

So, as you can see, everyone is working hard to realize this school. Once more, we are very greatful! Without you we can’t do it!

Warm greetings from Oman and Zambia,

Jennifer and Terry

Change of environment

Hey everyone,

Last week there was a huge change in our daily life. Jennifer moved for 10 months to Oman in the Middle East to work as an au pair.

We thought, talked and reasoned together for a long time about this. The donations for the school weren’t going that well, so we decided to take it in our own hands. The fact is that Jennifer isn’t working in Zambia and that we need the salary of Terry for our daily things. It was clear what needed to happen. Jennifer had to find a temporary job outside of Zambia.

Going back to the Netherlands wasn’t an option for Jennifer. Also, temporary jobs are hard to find. The option of becoming an au pair was already researched in the past by Jennifer and also now we thought this would be the best option.

Jennifer reached out to several families and different families reached out to her. In the end she chose for a family in Oman. Everything was arranged fast and Jennifer lives already for a week in Oman. The money she will earn here, will go for a big part to the school, so that the building can start. Through this way we hope people see that our school will be really built and that we do everything in our power to establish it.

Of course, we don’t like the distance between us, but we have a dream. And that dream is our school. Like said earlier, we will do almost everything for our school. That it means we need to sacrifice things in terms of a long distance and not being together for a long time, well, that’s the way it is. Our relationship has a strong foundation and the urge to realize our dream is huge.

Because, what are 10 months in a human life, when you can realize one of your biggest dreams?

With love from Oman and Zambia,

Terry and Jennifer

 

Plots bought!

Finally, it’s official! The plots for the school are bought.

The exact measurements are 100 meters by 70 meters. Terry is the official buyer of the plots, but of course they are for the school. In a later stadium it could have been difficult if for example Jennifer would have bought the plots as being a non-Zambian.

That means that the present drawing of the school need to be adjusted, because they show different measurements.

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The name of the seller and her NRC No. (identity card number) are left out, just like the paid amount. This in agreement with the seller. Besides this, there is also shown the sellers signature and her witness, and also Terry signed as the buyer and Jennifer as the witness.

We are going to start with putting small pillars of bricks on each corner of the plots, so that it is clear where the start and end of the plot is. At the moment there is still a road through the plots, but thanks to a man from the council we now know how the road will be definitely. This man stopped the bricklayer of making the pillars and showed us how the drawing so we could see how the road will be. Luckily, he lives next to the plots of the school so if there will be problems with other plots or people, we can go to him.

Furthermore, on the Facebook page there are some things for sale which are made in Zambia. There is a price stated, so that everyone has the idea what the minimal price is. But of course, a higher price is even better! Everything will go to the school!

Warm regards,

Terry and Jennifer

How far are we now?

As told earlier, we found a new builder for the school. He gave already some guidelines, so the overview of costs has slightly changed. Hopefully he can sit down upcoming week and make a complete overview, so that we have a clearer view of what we need both for one classroom as for everything in total.

Furthermore, we have told the sellers of the plots that the money has arrived and that we can measure the plots, sign the paper and do the handover. Due to circumstances this didn’t happened during the weekend, so let’s hope we can finish it during the week.

Besides that, some materials from Zambia arrived safely in the Netherlands to get sold. This all thanks to Monique (thank you!). You can bid on these objects and all the money is of course going to the school. This is also a try out, to see if objects like this possibly sell. They are all made in Mpongwe. So, put your bids people! This is possible through:

But we also need to be realistic after all the good news. The donations are NOT progressing. We did ourselves also a donation to close the gap which was there to buy the plots. So that shows we also donate ourselves. Each Kwacha/euro we can put aside (we only have a 225 euro combined salary each month), we put aside for the school.

That shows that, even if you have less, you can donate. Why? Because we really are happy with every euro, dollar, pound, kwacha or in whatever way you make a donation.

  • 1 euro equals 12 bricks
  • 5 euro equals 1 bag of cement
  • 7,50 euro equals 1 roofing sheet
  • 10 euro equals a doorframe and 45 bricks

And this is how the list can continue. So if you have empty plastic bottles, return them to the store and donate the money you get back from them. Clothes you don’t wear anymore? Put them online and donate the money you get.

Do you know a marketing student or someone who is really good with social media? Maybe this person would love to promote our website and Facebook page for a few hours a week.

You have other ideas? Please, let us know. We are willing to go very far for better education of our children in Mpongwe.

Warm regards,

Terry and Jennifer

A small holiday

Last week we enjoyed a holiday for a week. The phones were off, so we were offline for the outside world. We were together and for the beautiful nature Zambia has to offer.

But, before and after our holiday we were busy with our school. We now know that the money is arrived in Zambia and if we PIC_1016.JPGwrite the blog for next week, we can announce that the plots will be officially from the school.

We also found another builder. This happened because of circumstances. This one is just as good, only way cheaper. In our first conversation he told us that he can build one classroom for the amount of 2000 Kwacha. This includes the setting of the room, digging of the foundation, making the foundation and building all the walls of the room. All of that for less than 200 euro (181 euro at the exchange rate now 1 euro = 11 kwacha)! After this talk we were even more motivated to realize Lotus Private School. That someone can build our school (three classrooms and an office, exclusive roof) for 600 euro is fantastic.

This man will also put down the amount of materials we will need like bricks, stones, sand and cement. All in total but also for each classroom. Slowly, but steadily our dream is coming true.

Reached this week:       

  • The money for the plots is in Zambia
  • There is still money in the Netherlands which can cover already the costs for the builder for one classroom
  • We found someone to design a logo for the school

Then a request to you guys. Please like and share our Facebook page. The more people we reach the better and hopefully it will help us to generate some more funds. We are already happy with the donations we have got and what we have reached together already. Thank you very much!

Warm regards from Mpongwe,

Terry and Jennifer