Its been a busy few weeks in Malama.
The construction team arrived on 27th July with plans to extend the staff house to include a shower and flushing toilet, carry out repairs to the guest kitchen and summer house, finish off the dining area and adding some internal screens to our house - quite a list!!
In the Dining Area - the walls to the back have been built using palm stalks for a decorative finish on the outside and reed matting to the inside - they look great!
The deck is being sanded and varnished together with the bar counter.
At the staff house, the bricklayers have completed the new structure, the roof is on, interior doorway knock through and the rendering is underway.
One of the biggest jobs was the septic tank - labourers from the village helped dig a 2m x 2m hole some 3m deep - all by hand with picks and shovels. Next the bricklayers laid a concrete plinth and built the tank using blocks - the outside of the tank has been filled with large stones to assist with drainage.
A new bush boiler is being installed to feed the new shower.
At our house, the interior reed screens have been installed providing privacy for the bedroom. I have started to give the kitchen a facelift - repainting and moving furniture to make the best use of the space - we even have a new office area tucked away behind the kitchen.
The summer house was in need of attention - the upright poles has begun to rot and during the rainy season the structure had begun to lean precariously. Two high lift jacks and poles for support allowed new holes to be dug and the 4 worst affected poles to be replaced - the rest need to be replaced too but at least now the structure is safe.
Amongst all of this activity we had an issue with low water pressure at the house - investigations uncovered that the pipework from the tank to the house was partially blocked - rodding failed to free it up so we had no alternative but to dig a trench and lay a new pipe approximately 100m in length. Furthermore the water tank had a build up of silt in the bottom which needed to be cleaned out. One of our team, Shake, volunteered to climb into the tank and clean it out so yesterday morning was spent doing just that - not a task I would have liked to undertake!!
Here in Zambia an election is fast approaching. The team all head back to Mfuwe on Wednesday to ensure they are able to vote on Thursday. They all return on Monday 16th August for a 5 day final push to complete all the work which has now been expanded to include decking to the main house too!
I’ll be honest, there hasn’t been much time for relaxation, but we are planning a couple of full day safari trips with Nicholas to explore some of the more remote areas of the National Park.
We have however had some great animal sightings from camp - Puku, Warthog, Impala, Elephant Baboon, Vervet Monkeys, Hippo and Giraffe are regular visitors and we had an early morning visit from the Wild Dogs last week. A lion passed through camp a couple of nights ago, walking past the house and over to the cottages and staff area leaving some great paw prints on the sandy path!
The time is flying by! - I can’t believe we have been in Zambia for over 6 weeks now - another 8 weeks and it will be time to head home (flights and covid restrictions permitting!)