Welcome to this special Newsletter Edition.
WEbuilding is trying to build a better and brighter future, not only through infrastructure development, but also by carrying out activities to promote intercultural exchange.
In the past couple of weeks, we've found ourselves spending more time at home, so we thought about taking you on an overseas trip, with lower CO2 emissions, and from the coziness of your living room.
We would like to invite you to a journey to diverse cultures and landscapes of the countries, where WEbuilding is engaged.
We will experience the daily life and cultural practices of the countries through different media from books and films, to music and photography.
Get ready to travel both to the stunning landscapes of the countries hosting our projects, as well as to their social and environmental issues.
The ongoing projects that WEbuilding is engaged in are situated on the African and South American continents: in Ghana, Mozambique and Colombia. That means WEbuilding is plunging into different cultural practices in each project.
Our first completed school project was done in Damang, Ghana in collaboration with the local organization Volunteer Partnership for West Africa (VPWA). The school now consists of six classrooms housing approximately 45 pupils each and could successfully open in September 2018.
Still in Ghana, but 300 km eastward is the province of Koforidua, where WEbuilding is currently engaged in another school project with the local partner organization River of Blessing Foundation. With help from the partner organization WEbuilding aims to expand an already existing school facility with six additional classrooms, using sustainable materials and engaging locals workers.
Staying on the continent, but moving southeast towards the Indian Ocean is Mozambique, more precisely the province of Gaza. Khanimambo Foundation has included WEbuilding in the process of making an ecological permaculture farm, with the aim to generate new social, economic and ecological opportunities in the area.
In South America WEbuilding is engaged in two projects in Colombia. In the west part of Colombia is the Santiago district located in the Putumayo region, where WEbuilding has teamed up with the local organization Fundación Catalina Muñoz, in order for the re-construction of a local school in San Andrés to take place. In the Nariño district further west, by the Pacific, is the La Ensenada school facilities in need of a re-construction. Together with the Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft- university from Berlin and the Universad de los Andes-university from Bogota, WEbuilding aims to provide infrastructural and sustainable practices to the development of the school and community.
As an introduction to the cultures, countries, continents in question WEbuilding has provided a short combination of books and movies to reveal the diverse lives and society, that unfolds in Colombia, Ghana and Mozambique. Furthermore, as our first completed project took place in Damang, Ghana and – as previously mentioned – the ongoing construction of a school in Koforidua is also taking place in Ghana WEbuilding has put together a small playlist of traditional Ghanaian Highlife music. Originated in the twenty-century colonial Ghana Highlife music is played with Western instruments, but consist of traditional Ghanaian music and was by the first president of independent Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah, proclaimed as national dance music.
In addition to the books, WEbuilding would also like to share a more cinematic and pictorial approach to Colombia, Ghana and Mozambique:
Birds of Passage by Ciro Guerra, Cristina Gallego, Colombia
“During the marijuana bonanza, a violent decade that saw the origins of drug trafficking in Colombia, Rapayet and his indigenous family get involved in a war to control the business that ends up destroying their lives and their culture”
- “Dark odyssey to the heart of the drugs trade” – The Guardian
Embrace of the Serpent by Ciro Guerra, Colombia
“The story of the relationship between Karamakate, an Amazonian shaman and last survivor of his people, and two scientists who work together over the course of forty years to search the Amazon for a sacred healing plant”
- “Dreamlike exploration of the Amazon´s imperialist pollution” – The Guardian
Land and Shade by César Augusto Acevedo, Colombia
“After having left a long time ago, a humble country sugar cane worker returns home to meet his grandson and deal with the hardships his family has been put into”
- “It is difficult to look at a sugar packet the same way after seeing Land and Shade” – The New York Times
Nakom by T.W. Pittman, Kelly Daniela Norris, Ghana
“Upon his father´s sudden death, a talented medical student must return to his home village in Ghana to fight for his family´s survival”
- “A dramatic microcosm of the age-old conflict between progress and tradition” – Variety
Azali by Kwabena Gyanash, Ghana
“Thrust into Accra by circumstances, a 14 year old girl from Northern Ghana must endure life in the slums of Accra and find a way to get back home”
- Selected as the Ghanaian entry for the Best International Feature Film at the 92nd Academy Awards
The Burial of Kojo by Blitz Bazawule, Ghana
“A man is trapped in a mine shaft by his vengeful brother while his daughter embarks on magical journey to rescue him”
- "A boldly lyrical portrait of a young Ghanaian girl” –New Yorker
Home is Where You Find It by Alcides Soares, Mozambique
“A sixteen year old AIDS orphan directs a documentary about finding a new family in Maputo, Mozambique”
- “His journey to reconnect with scattered family members … is a story that is being repeated thousands of times every day across Africa” – New Orleans Film Festival
Sleepwalking Land by Teresa Prata, Mozambique
“In the midst of Mozambique´s devastating civil war, Muidinga, an orphanged refugee, wanders the countryside in search of his mother”
- “Teresa Prata creates an affecting portrait of life during wartime” – The New York Times
The Train of Salt and Sugar by Licinio Azevedo, Mozambique
“A very dangerous train journey through war torn Mozambique. Civilian passengers are both protected and harassed by a troop of ill-disciplined soldiers on board to fight off a rebel army in the bush”
- “[The Train of Salt and Sugar] is an epic tale of peril and endurance on an arduous cross-country journey”– The Hollywood Reporter
The Salt of the Earth by Wim Wenders & Juliano Ribeiro Salgado
“The life and work of photographer Sebastião Salgado, who has spent forty years documenting deprived societies in hidden corners of the world”
- “Colourful portrait of visionary photographer Sebastião Salgado” – The Guardian
Our latest invite on social media to the countries we work in was through a selection of distinguished photographers, that have documented the beauty and the realities of Colombia, Ghana and Mozambique through pictures. The critically acclaimed photographers have each interpreted and presented the countries, in their very own way:
Our architectural volunteer Florian went to Koforidua to supervise the construction process, but even more with the purpose of learning and taking part in the daily life on the construction site, and thereby getting an impression of the work and progress with the school.
During his stay he encountered several differences in regards to the mindset or simply concerning the working pace of the construction works: “The work in Africa is following a different mindset. While some things are getting delayed others work almost too rapidly”. On top of that he experienced how the workers handled difficulties and lack of organization: “… there is a great spirit of improvisation and a sometimes really liberating hands on approach”.
With an educational background in Germany, Florian had hands on experiences with the cultural differences, as well as the on site circumstances: “The main difference to a western style of construction was the physical engagement of the workers on site. While machines are very costly, hard to get and therefore seldom used, there is traditionally a fair amount of work done by hand”.
Besides the personal gain of learning from the architectural practices on site and gaining professional experience through the visit, Florian was also checking the development of the school and quickly had an impression of a prosperous project: “The new building will highly improve the abilities of the school to provide good education and a safe and welcoming environment for the kids. Seeing how much was accomplished already at ROBA (River of Blessing Academy) with the limited space and financial resources there is a lot of potential for the future development”.
Florian was happy on behalf of WEbuilding and River of Blessing Academy to witness fast paced progress and the opportunity to make an educational environment to more kids.
Furthermore, Florian sees prospects in expanding further in the coming years, in order for WEbuilding and River of Blessing Academy to provide education to even more kids: “As the school is growing there might be a possibility to expand the project in the following years”.
Before starting the project River of Blessing Academy and WEbuilding sat down, in order for the two parts to get hold on the ideas and visions of the counterpart, including assessment processes with questionnaires about the work, finances, motivation, goals etc. and interviews, as well as email correspondence. Both parts need to be aware of the benefits for the themselves and their organization as well as being certain that the funds and planning are used in according to the guidelines.
We hope you enjoyed this special newsletter!
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Otherwise, see you at the next newsletter with the latest news about our projects in Ghana, Colombia and Mozambique.
Wishing you a lovely weekend
Thanks for keeping up to date with our news and helping us with our projects!