Volunteer Vacation Day Four: Bringing Mud to the Roof

If you recall, yesterday I touched on the mud making process and how we were left out of squishing our feet in the cool wetness of it all which probably would have felt great in Dushanbe’s heat, but with time we would have muddier days. Day four wasn’t going to be one of them. For a brave two volunteers there was the task of going up on the crowded roof to hand off buckets to the construction master, Hussein. The rest of the group would remain below creating a bucket line from the mud mixture to the house where the buckets would then be pulled up top by a rope with a hook. By this time I had really gotten used to this bucket line thing. At first the task seemed a little mundane to have come all the way to Central Asia just to hand off buckets; I mean we wanted to build a house! However at the end of each day you could see the effects of how nine extra bodies impacted the worksite. I could just imagine the build days without so many people around, after mixing mud each construction worker coming out of the circle, each carrying buckets one-by-one up the steps to the hook waiting to pulley them up. I shook off the thought. The process seemed far too slow, too long.

Although I wasn’t brave enough to hang out on the roof for long I went up to investigate just what was going on. A wood frame had been laid down before our arrival and over that wood frame was cardboard. The mud was to be dumped onto the cardboard and smoothed out by Hussein. I found the cardboard aspect interesting and looked around wondering if all homes were created equally and the same in Tajikistan. I pondered the way my own roof was made. Space was getting tight. There were six people on the roof and while I was confident in their housing blueprints combined with our work, I still felt shaky and decided to re-join the bucket line below.

Down on ground level we passed the time away swinging the heavy mud buckets to the sound of whatever songs popped into our heads. At the very front of the line Christina had decided to make the homeowner’s 16 year-old son count each bucket he filled with mud in English up to one hundred. In turn he made me count to one hundred in Tajik. I was an easy target. I was the one running around all day everyday asking for new Tajik words. My little knowledge of Farsi hadn’t come in as handy as I hoped it would, but numbers are still the same with some minor differences in pronunciation. I was exhausted afterwards. No matter which language you’re using to count to one hundred it’s pretty darn tiring to do! Right around the time I finished the work above had been completed and there was no more room to spread mud. The roof was far from complete though. If I’m correct they still need to set or hang some type of tin or aluminum material overhead so the mud doesn’t wash away with the weather. Like standing in the mud mixture we would be exempt from that process too.