Completely Gobsmacked

13. July 2011 by Ludger

Yesterday I did participate one of IBM’s corporate citizen initiatives. With “Habitat for Humanity South Africa” IBMers are building 7 homes this week.

First challenge was getting there. Luckily we’ve been before in Orange Farm (see blog from Feb. 5th), so at least I had a rough idea where I was heading to. Even with this knowledge it took me more than an hour on Monday night figuring out my destination via Google maps.

I did arrive at a quarter to 8 at the Caltex garage turning left at the second 4-way stop in Orange Farm, only to realize, that the Caltex garage no longer was Caltex. Luckily the pictures in Google maps are not up-to-date, otherwise I wouldn’t have had a chance figuring out the meeting point. 15 minutes early there was nobody else involved in the home building, and the friendly guys at the gas pumps were not aware about their place being used as a meeting point.

So I phoned Palesa, the volunteer coordinator from Habitat, only to learn that the meeting point was a Total station close to the Palm Springs Mall, and that it wasn’t 8 but 8:30 to meet. Meanwhile two other cars with IBMers did arrive, complaining about the most useless directions. It then was up to me guiding them to the new meeting point – luckily it was straight forward.

A short briefing close to the houses to be build we got allocated a coordinator, and off we – 10 people from Software Group – went to our construction site, a less than 5 minutes walk. As of 9 am we where mixing duggha, passing blocks, battering blocks for builders, bagging walls, preparing roof beams, setting up scaffolding, carrying duggha, …  At 3 pm we started cleaning the tools and left the place.

I struggled not falling asleep on my way home. At home a hot bath, which did relax my muscles, but didn’t chase away the fatigue. I was in bed sleeping before 7!

Today I am walking like a zombie. Each step I feel all muscles in my legs and my back.

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