The incredibly hardworking team from the Technical University of Munich have managed a minor miracle in the progress of the new Learning Centre.  Friday 14th June was their last day on site and the amount of work they have completed, together with local tradesmen, is nothing short of amazing.

In just ten working days they have managed to construct the floor, build all four walls, complete the small biological toilet and work on the “space ship” furnace (see the photos to understand the furnace nick name) which is being used to provide further material for Mareike’s research into the viability of using burnt and ground corn husks as cement replacement.

The new Learning Centre sits within a wonderful garden space that has been created by Vincent (FSO founder) over many years.  Some of the garden beds were removed to allow the concrete floor to be laid.  However, many of the plants have been saved and will be replanted once trade activity stops.  The large fig tree was spared (much to everyone’s delight) and is now sitting comfortably inside and outside the building.  It almost looks like it is hugging the building and has a lovely welcoming feel when you walk inside the gates. The tree also provides much needed shelter from the sun and rain.  The centre has 59 square metres of internal floor space and the ceiling height is approximately 15m metres at its highest point. It is quite big but because it is nestled within the garden, it has the appearance of big gentle giant. 

There is still a lot of work to do.  The windows and doors are yet to be installed.  The walls (interior and exterior) need to be rendered and a timber floor to be laid.  Then a mirror wall will run along the full length of the eastern wall. Canvas awnings will be installed around the exterior mesh to prevent rain from entering during the rainy season. And there are some leaks in the corrugated iron roof which have to be plugged.  

But the amazing team of students have definitely broken the back of this project and momentum is strong.  The finished building is going to provide a fabulous large space, graced with natural light, good air flow and a soft timber floor suitable for many activities. 

On the evening of Thursday 13th June, the Learning Centre was unofficially christened with a torch and candle lit party for all of the crew.  There was food, drinks, music, laughter and of course, dancing, which is absolutely appropriate for a space which will in the future host many more occasions for music and dance.

FSO are extremely grateful to the team of volunteers who gave 120% of their energy to get the bulk of the structure completed.  There were many sore bodies, bumps, bruises and quite a lot of “funny tummy” issues along the way.  Despite the many physical problems, each member of the team turned up and gave their very best every day. They collaborated with the local tradesmen, made new friends, shared techniques and they were even taught how to lay bricks.  The exchange of skills and friendship has been one of the nicest personal achievements for everyone involved.

Keep your eye out for the next phase in the construction of the New Learning Centre.  We look forward to providing updates and hope our readers enjoy following the progress of this exciting chapter in the work of Forward Step Organization.


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