Written by Arthur Duek
I had 6 Nigerian co-workers to help me pack in the black clay sealer for the dam. Boy, did I need some missionaries to guide me! We could not communicate. The only words I could understand was: “I need toilet.” I knew he wasn’t expecting me to produce a flush toilet, and so with the jungle and bush all around us, I told him to go find a tree! So off he sauntered with a shovel; he was gone a long time so now I only had 5 guys to try and teach how to compact this clay. I got in with them to show them, and shovelled and picked and packed, but they could not fathom what this gray-haired BaBa wanted! The first day we did manage to pack in 15 buckets, only 340 more buckets left. Of course when we returned to our volunteer house John & Beaj, our team’s leaders, were there in the evening to encourage me, always speaking highly of my Nigerian co-workers.
Next day started better; they seemed to catch the vision why the black clay, why the compaction, how to break up the lumps so it would pack properly to seal the dam. We ended up doing 125 buckets. They learned my Canadian hand signals when I was pleased! On my last day there, we worked only ½ day and still did 125 buckets!! We were all so thrilled, they wanted picture time. It was their choice to pose in front of the hospital compound’s truck, with the logo between them. Then they wanted me on the picture, and I knew…we were a team!