I’m back! Yes I have been trusted to write another blog post. On Monday we had our last team swap and I went to AAF. As you may have heard from Doggo, the previous team were taking down the water tower stand (and it was putting up a fight!). We continued from where they had left off, widening the concrete channels already made, so that we could fit an angle grinder in to cut the rebar. We also dug one more channel, and after a morning’s hard work, we cut the last few bits of rebar and started levering the first bit of lid off the edge and soon enough the first bit of the concrete hit the ground (only 3 left to go).
I was really enjoying using the cold chisels, hammers and my favourite thing the SDS medium duty breaker with point or chisel fitted [Leaders’ note: Matthew works in the tool hire industry, it took us two days to realise this was the proper name for the hammer/demo drill we were using].
Lunch came as an unpleasant break as it stopped me from breaking things. By the end of the day we were three quarters of the way through the job & made the work area safe (both for us, and for the girls, as it was our route to the long drop toilet in the night). This meant I had to use the angle grinder to cut off bits of pointy rebar (oh dear another power tool) [Leaders’ note: Matthew, and all of the other participants were only allowed to use these tools under close supervision of Doggo].
As Tuesday morning broke we formulated a plan to get the final piece of this structure down. The first task was to clear our feet, as there was a big pile on the side of the tower of 3 bits of concrete lid, block and dirt. We created a human chain of Scottish and Malagasy scouts, working together passing the blocks to make a big pile out of the way. Then came the heavy bit, trying to move these bits of lid. This time it consisted of lots of lifting one side, flipping, rolling, and grunts to get the first one to the edge of the hill, and then let it roll down a wee bit, then a rinse and repeat for the second and third bit. Then it was time to tackle the final final bit. After some more grunting and power tools we had broken the back of this 3 day epic of a job & rapidly reduced the height of the tower to something that could be used by the refuge as place to wash clothes etc.
To reward ourselves for the work we had done we went souvenir shopping and had pizza which was nice (and rice free). We then returned back and had dinner (which was not rice free).
When we came back from dinner I noticed some of the girls trying to break up a bit of a bed for firewood – I wandered over just to see what they were up to and then recognising that I was CEO of Matthew Wilson Constructive Dismantling I was asked to help. which, under their direction, I did.
The next day was the wrap up of the project phase. When the bus arrived, we got our bags waved goodbye and started the walk up the steep drive. As I reach the top I looked back and gave a final wave. AAF had been a great project as we had spent our days helping to improve the girls’ environment. All these girls who were always happy and full of life and also learning and improving our own skills which we may need later in life.
Project stage had its high and lows but all in all its was an amazing experience and has provided me with skills for life.
Matthew Wilson (Milson)
CEO of Matthew Wilson Constructive Demolition