Building the Alanouwaly Salifou Sylla Centre
Salif had started a very ambitious guesthouse in Guinea to house music projects on the outskirts of Boke. The original plan was a two storey building with roof terrace and balcony (the land is situated on a hill overlooking the area). He had involved about 30 local builder friends and expertise. The traditional prayer and sacrifice before starting the building was attended by quite a crowd.
The project came to an abrupt halt with Salifou’s death, so the question was what to do with this. As many of his friends wanted to do something to help the people of Guinea the idea of a Centre to house various projects to find solutions to people’s problems was born. The vision was to create a Centre of excellency.
Very deep and solid foundations had been laid, but after Salif’s death one of our members, a very experienced builder and engineer assessed the plans and we have, together with the Guinean builders, come to the conclusion that we have to downsize the building to a simpler ground-level structure to have any realistic chance of raising funds for it. We also agreed to build with the possibility of expanding later if our fortunes, prices or situation changes.
In the UK we held the first Salif Fest to honour his life to raise funds for this Centre. We spent about half of what we raised on building a small African caretaker house which had nearly been completed very effectively when our chair and vice chair visited Guinea in January. Corners of wall were built to mark the corners of the whole site.
Our chair and vice-chair, who is also a builder/engineer, have kept meticulous records of all the costs involved and were therefore able to make a more precise forecast of the money involved to complete the project.
In Africa, due to the volatile nature of life and conditions, people tend to not plan very far ahead, so we feel it’s another positive aspect of our work, to try to achieve as much forward planing as possible. It means, of course, we have to be prepared that our plans can be thrown upside down at any time and we have agreed the need to manage our expectations with that in mind.
In 2010 – the caretaker house was finished with a beautiful ceiling and some decoration on outside. An African toilet was built onto it. 25 trees and some groundnut cash-crop were nurtured, protected and eaten throughout the year. Local people have shown a lot of pride and love in the building, which our chair and vice-chair again witnessed on their visit in January 2010. The work has also satisfied our objectives of creating some work opportunities. Traditional fences were built around land.
2011 – Caretaker House was tiled and bathroom built onto it. The structure of big house was built up and 3 rooms were built up to roof level with the plan to finish and use them.
In 2012 Caretaker House was painted & guttering added to roof. Main house was built up ready for roof to be added.
2013 – Main House: 3 rooms were finished with antivol and good quality hardwood doors & windows ready to house projects. Traditional shelter was rebuilt.
Plastering on inside & outside of the main house with ‘antivol’ put in. Stage 3 of main house built to roof level with columns on future veranda.
2014 – Stage 3 roof and veranda built
floor of big house made even
Boundary Wall built
2015 April – stage 3: windows, doors of hall; plastering & ceiling of hall & veranda, cellar walls & floors
Bamboo front gate made and annexe to caretaker house started
2015 September: stage 3 – Funded the decorative artistic ceiling of the hall in the main building
2015 annexe to caretaker house further extended with 2 more rooms and 2 verandas
decorative edges created under roof (above right); roof structure built
anti termite paint application and good quality corrugated iron roof attached
finished front of “small” house
Big house stage 4: reinforcement and 3 basic rooms to use
plastering & decorations
plumbing of 3 bathrooms
veranda railings & stairs
wallpainting and widow-grids and -hoods