Construction Update – May 2009

The Nkhanga Village Library

May 2009

The library roof is now being completed.

The library roof is now being completed.

The good news is that The Nkhanga Village Library Construction Committee finally sent me photo updates of the progress in the roofing of the Nkhanga Village Library. The US Dollar is strong and the Zambian Kwacha currency has depreciated. One US dollar is now equivalent to 5,680.00 Zambian Kwacha. This means materials and labor will be cheaper. This is the best time to complete the roofing, inside wall plaster, painting, and  installing window panes. Plans are underway to obtain shelves and tables.

The not so good news is in the last progress report in October 2008, the plan at the time was to finish the roofing of the library before November and December when the rain season starts in Zambia. That plan faced major obstacles because of 3 main reasons.

First, the cost estimate for the roofing initially was $2860.00. During last minute last October on the eve of the roof construction, there was an unexpected set back. It was discovered that the contractor who had built the wall during the whole of last summer, had stopped the wall height 16 inches (40 cms), just over a foot short of the required height. So the contractor and all the laborers had to be recalled and some money for the roofing had to be diverted to buy more cement and more bricks to finish the wall to the right height including the additional construction of brick pillars along the front corridor of the Library. This was a very substantial unexpected cost for a 3100 Sq. Ft. building.

Second, when the rain season starts labor is more expensive and scarce as people disperse to their fields to grow food. As a result the work was slow from December up to March.

Third, I had planned to go to Zambia for 4 weeks in December 2008 up to January 2009. During that period we had planned for me to campaign for more funding on the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) radio and TV. With my presence, intense supervision, and ability to make snap decisions, we had planned to work intensively on the roofing for the 4 weeks. That plan failed when my trip had to be suddenly canceled last minute at Dulles Airport on the day of departure due to a mix up of new travel Visa document requirements at Heathrow Airport in London.  This is too complicated to explain. However, all of this has now been fixed.

I have communicated with the Village Construction Committee and the total estimate tso complete the construction of the library; iron sheets for roofing, wall plaster, window frames and panes, and labor  is now only $4934.37. The breakdown of the cost of itemized materials and labor are in the chart below. If you or anyone can make donations to complete the construction of this very important project this summer, that will be extremely appreciated. Folks, we are that close in completing this very important project that so many people here and Zambia have already made sacrifices towards the construction.

See expenses 2007 list in pdf format