The dirt was – without exaggeration – like concrete. It had been sun-baked to a rock hard crust since the last rainy season. This soil was rusty orange, and contained very little nutrients. We first had to fracture the hard-pan then lift it, then pulverize the dirt into something use-able. After each blow the dust would rise into the air attaching itself to my sweaty shirt and clothes. It went everywhere. Into my nostrils and into my lungs, into my shoes and permanently stained my cargo pants.
Two houses down a house was being built – out of bricks made from the identical soil that we were attempting to utilize.
The locals would often pick up tools and work along side of us. Some of the hardest workers were the ladies of the house. They would work tirelessly without water.