This past Tuesday we finished the hole for the water intake structure. (I know normally digging the hole for an intake structure is not a big accomplishment, but this in PNG, and holes are not too easy to come by here.) It was a nice day and my guys were super excited. Picture 1 shows the guys, the back of the gabion baskets and the back of the concrete intake struture. This hole was dug entirely using the tools shown in the pictures! The guys had an incentive of 100 kina a day for every day early they finished, and liquidated damages of 50 kina for every day late that they finished. The hole was supposed to be completed by September 24th, and they finished it on the 24th of August! That is a 2,100 Kina bonus for the guys! (When I wrote the contract I was really hoping that they would come in ahead of schedule so I could give them a bonus, but I never imagined how hard they would be willing to work.)
I initially started this project with four guys, Steven, Garry, Gibson, and Bakeid. They constructed all of the gabion baskets. Then when it came time to start on the hole I told them to bring four more guys for me to hire, Richard, Monkia, Avvo and Phillip. Then Gary got really sick and sent his son Rasta to work in his stead. When Gary came back I was happy to keep Rasta on as he was a hard worker. At this point I found out that under PNG law, I could only hire temporary workers for 60 days and then would have to fire them. I discovered this one week prior to the 60 day cut off for Steven, Gary, Gibson, and Bakeid. Because of all the training I had given these guys, it was important for them to finish the job. So I worked out the plan to fire them and then hire Steven, Gary, Gibson and Bakeid as private contractors to finish the job for a lump sum payment. I did this and told each of them I was no longer the boss but they were my co-workers and would each need to hire four employees of their own to come work on the trench. The following day I had 20 men with 10 spades and 10 wheelbarrows digging at break-neck speed. I was so busy that I never got to learn the names of all of the new gurys that they brought, so I am only able to name nine of the men in the pictures.
On top of gabion baskets (on grey blanket) from left to right: Bakeid, Unknown, Unknown, Monkia, Avvo. Second row above wheel barrows: Unknow, Unknown, Unknown (in purple shirt), Unknow, Unknown, Rasta, Richard, Jacob (me), Gary, Unknown Bottom row and also kneeling behind wheel barrows: Unkown, Unknown, Phillip (sitting on over-turned wheelbarrow), Gibson (kneeling behind wheelbarrows with short dreds), Unknown ( in the red hat), Steve (reclining in the wheelbarrow out front)
Picture 2 shows Steven presenting me with a bilum (a traditional hand-woven bag). He stood up and gave a speech about how much they appreciated the opportunity to work for me and presented me with the bilum.
Picture 3 is a wide-amgle shot that shows most of the trench.
Jacob and Kim