Meeting Denis, our Contractor: #4

Published May 24, 2011

Hi All,

I just met Denis for the first time. Denis is the engineer working for Global Development Company (GDC), our contractor for the Jalle school. After my meeting with him there isn’t a doubt left in my mind that the school will be built. Today is a good day!

Denis and I had not been able to communicate much about the design and engineering over the past months. There is only so much you can do over email and phone – especially since Rebuild Sudan is a rather unique client. I say this because we have had much more input on the design and engineering than the vast majority of GDC’s clients. A two-way flow of information was not the usual.

Regardless, Denis took all the bits and pieces I gave him and studied and thought and pondered about what it was we were attempting to do. In so doing, in many ways he independently verified our approach. By the time I met with him in person this evening he had the entire vision in his head. He could see exactly how construction would proceed. He had even calculated (to the day) the exact number of days that I had calculated it will take to erect the building. Start to finish (of phase one) 21 days. With 14 days to complete the foundation and framing and 7 days for the roof (with a couple of extra days for problems) He could see all of the advantages and could not see any reason why the whole thing wouldn’t work exactly as designed.

Denis has been doing this for a living in Africa for some time. He is genuinely excited with this approach. I have every confidence that with very little additional instruction from me he will be able to finish – even if I need to return to the states prior to the completion of phase 1. I’m really looking forward to working with him!

Oh, and as you might know from a previous update I was worrying about a welder. No worries – Denis is brining a diesel powered welder and we’ll have access to it the entire build. We’ve already discussed strategies for the pier-meets-plate joint.

I’ve been in contact with Jimmy Kyeyune, the agent in Kampala who will be shipping the foundation on to Bor. He expects the foundation to be out of customs by Friday. We could have it on site early next week. It was very difficult to understand his accent, but I think I understood that much. At the very least, it was clear he knew who I was, what I was shipping, and where it was going without me having to remind him. That’s a good sign that communication has bee good between he and Wilson at Nile Cargo.


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