Monday, 16 January 2012

Guest Blogger - Ben Gough. Architect / Volunteer

We have a new volunteer named Ben Gough who has been helping us the past couple weeks. Ben is visiting from England and is studying architecture so we have him on board to come up with some cool concepts for building around the centre. He is a great guy and everyone is enjoying his energy and ideas that he is bringing. Here is something that he wrote about his experiences in the centre.

My involvement with the Pequininos Centre happened completely by chance. I was taking a year out from my Architecture course and had planned to visit a friend in Nairobi. I had always wanted to be involved with a hands on building project that would provide real opportunities and directly affect the community.

Through talking to a friend at University, I found that there was an opportunity to lengthen my stay in Kenya through helping to build a Community Centre that she had designed, so I jumped at the opportunity. Three months later I found myself (literally) jumping on matatu’s, immunised against the word ‘mzungu’, learning how to plaster walls and enjoying the friendly nature of the Kenyan community.

Now, just one week in to my experience at the Pequininos centre, I have settled in with the crowd of friendly faces, and have drawn from the relentless enthusiasm of Isaac Kaka and Nathaniel Canuel. I have enjoyed observing the competent direction of Reuben as site manager and the hard work of too many people to name. As I walk past tyre-fueled stoves boiling mysterious pots scattered on the periphery of the dirt track, I notice something different every time. Small businesses serving the local community, selling brought-back-to-life mobile phones and radios, kids running about finding pleasure in a used tyre; It is the ultimate in recycling, reuse and ingenuity. Nearby, resonating sounds of construction emanating from within the building provide a soundtrack to scribbling ideas; chapati’s and chai from The Prestigious Food Joint’ provide the fuel.

I have to thank Katherine Hegab for suggesting the idea in the first place and to Issac Kaka and Nathaniel Canuel for welcoming me so fervently, for their hard work, enthusiasm, and for being great people to work with! I cannot wait for the the building completed, to see the scribbles translated into reality, and for the local community to begin enjoying it!

Here are some photos of our man Ben and the crew.

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