Tuesday, August 10, 2010

July 22, 2010: Community ingrained in their sweat.

Machines make us weak and disconnected. It is true that machines could have accomplished today's work in a fraction of the time. It would have looked neater, more pristine: We would have looked cleaner and more pristine. That clean pristine appearance for which all suburbanites long for would have smiled back, but it would not have been us. It would not have been their community. In one part the cement was hand-mixed, bricks heaved, and buckets lifted by fragile backs. In another part, sod was laid, each piece unique in its size and form. This was us, this was a community unfazed by its lack of modern machinery, reliant on muscle and ingenuity to succeed. At times we looked on shocked by the improvisational building methods, uncomfortable with the untidy rows of sod. With us alongside they were building their community using their scarce resources with creativity, and with a knowledge of their land. This was not a building which they came to applaud at the end. This was not a lawn preening itself in green abundance at the end of one day. This was them. This was their community ingrained in their sweat. This was Africa.

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