Jennifer Corson and Keith Robertson learned Sunday afternoon via text message the library they designed and built in Abetenim, Ghana is complete.
The couple, along with their two children, spent three months in the West African village building Korkor's Community Library.
The project was documented on Facebook. The building is named after Corson's goddaughter, who lives in Ghana.
"It was fantastic. We saw her on the first day we arrived in Kumasi, which is a large town close to the village and then she came to visit half way along so the village could meet her and understand our connection," said Corson.
"To see this building rise so quickly and so smoothly when so many things could have gone wrong, that was a real pleasure."
Corson and Robertson are partners in Solterre Design, a company specializing in green design. They helped make Halifax Central Library LEED certified.
"The library is built of earth construction, so the walls are almost entirely of earth and about 90 per cent of the effort and time that went into it was village labour as well." said Robertson.
Connecting the community
"We had to pay a lot of attention to the local tradition, local techniques and weather and how they would build, support and maintain there as well."
Corson said the project was a huge learning experience.
"We didn't come in and just build our building, we worked with them and it's for them."
The library cost around $25,000 to build. The money came from fundraising. The library has books, e-books and 14 computers.
"That will be the biggest thing for the village in terms of being connected because prior to those 14 computers, there were two computers in the entire village of 800 people, a village that just got electricity five years ago," said Corson.
The trip to Ghana was also a major learning experience for Lil and Clay Corson. Both children made friends with locals, learned a few key phrases in Twi and say they received corporal punishment while attending school.
"I was late for school and I had to get punished," said Lil Corson."They just take these large bendy sticks and hit you with them."
Corson and Robertson will be holding a talk June 2nd at Halifax Central Library to discuss the build.