020_The Final Report

The first international and interdisciplinery JAP-team, 2020.
Waiting for the door-wall-elements
The “end product": three weeks of hard work, weekend shifts, stress, fun and an international team that grew together made this possible.

Faster than all of us realised the last week of the project there. Over the weekend the foundations had dried so that the actual erection of the building could start on Monday morning. With the metal frames. For a change they did not cause more troubles than other building elements so that the basic structure was in place quickly.
But Monday was not just the first day of the building, it was also the day of Jana’s thesis presentation. While the rest of the team worked on site or at Makerspace, we tried to deal with all the struggles you really do not need on a presentation day: load shedding, strikes and blockades at Nelson Mandela University, a living room that had to be turned into an adequate presentation room… But we managed. And after everyone else git back the preparations for the well-deserved celebrations in the evening started. It was a long, cheerful night, with music, braai, a newly opened outpost of the Kaibar and congratulations to Jana and Wolfgang whose wedding anniversary was the second occasion for celebrating.

Despite the long night, the amount of drinks and the fact that most of us had less than five hours of sleep, everyone was up and ready for work early in the next morning. Wall elements and roof structure had to be installed, the flooring needed to be done, interior walls were set up, heaps of small stuff and details needed preparation like the facade design, the window frame, the folding doors and the hatches. Side by side one group started to tidy up the Makerspace to have everything done and ready by Friday.

With all the different tasks and the overwhelming motivation to finish on time, the days blurred into each other. And suddenly it was Friday. The last day. The final day. And nothing was completed. The general structure was set up, but the details took more time than anybody expected. The facade costed another bunch of nerves, the last beams rejected to be fixed to the structure, a toilet bench and a step were designed and realised within the last two hours, the assembling of the doors was not completed until a minute before the rest of the team arrived. But eventually we finished.

The last screw belonged to one of the bolts for closing a folding door. And it was screwed in while the camera was set up for the final group picture, just before we overhanded the keys to Khusta and showed him the features of his new workshop. Neighbours and friends came to inspect the new structure, laughter, stories and drinks were shared, lots of pictures were taken. But even this moment had to come to an end. We had to leave. After all there was an increasing security risk the later we would stay in the township.

But our evening was not over yet. For the last time we went from site to Makserspace, for the last time we sorted the tools into the right boxes, for the last time we clearer and tidied up, for the last time we took the tools back to WERK_2, for the last time we struggled with the padlocks for locking up Makerspace. Once the last lock clicked and “our“ Makerspace-keys were handed back to Kevin, we knew that it was over now. This part of the exchange, the JAP, came to an end. We finished off at the food truck festival in the valley and although most of us were going to be traveling together over the weekend it still felt like the last evening before the great “goodbye“.

To conclude our time together we decided to spend a night in Nature’s Valley close to Plettenberg Bay. After one and a half hour (or in our case: three and a half hour) drive, a gigantic and gorgeous summer cottage with six and a half bathrooms welcomed us. We are still trying to figure out where the half bathroom was. The remote beach gave us time to recover from the stressful and exhausting last weeks. The evening in the summer cottage offered the opportunity to sit together one last time and look back on the experiences (and photos) of the past month. Solving the problem of too many people for the number of cars was our last challenge before saying „Goodbye“ and „See you in Wismar“.

(Co-Author: Uta Scheibe)