Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Community-built construction fence

There have been weekly meetings with the local Roche Health Center Committee since our June brigade. This committee includes members of the Roche community, the construction team, the Roche Village Council, SHED and VLOP. These meetings have been critical in keeping channels of communication flowing between everyone involved.

In the first meeting we asked what suggestions the local community had for creating a fence around the construction site (to keep out kids and animals for their safety) that wouldn't cut into the construction budget. They came up with a plan for the fence that you see here, completely built of volunteer labor.

Pit latrine underway

UC Environmental engineering student Bryant just returned from a trip to the Roche site where he led the construction of our first on-site pit latrine. The bricks are curved ISSB. The top slab is now being formed and the shed will follow.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Quote from George, master of rebar

“I understand Emily. This building is important and I need to be paid nothing. My mother died on the road from here going to Shirati hospital.”
- George

Monday, July 5, 2010

Laying the ISSB on the plinth beam

"...overall I am really pleased with the plinth beam...Everyone is raving about what a great foundation it is and how they have never seen anything like it but they will copy it if they can! That was exciting. Then we started laying the bricks! We worked with Julius (the concrete contractor) and he agreed that we should only employ a few people today and go slowly to make sure to get it right, so we did five courses on three of the interior walls and two courses on the other two interior walls and it was amazing. The bricks look beautiful and there was such a sense of excitement as people began to see what the building will be like."

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Entry views

This is a rendering of the view through the entry as well as the same view under construction.

RHC construction process - on-site training for the community

Construction began in April 2010 and has been an amazing process. A University of Cincinnati Graduate Architecture Student has been the on-site project director in collaboration with our local partners from SHED Foundation. They have been working around the clock to develop a building that is constructable using no power tools, all local materials and skills and could be built by anyone in the community. Yet, this building will be resistant against earthquakes and other natural occurrences in the region. It will utilize natural ventilation and daylighting to create a comfortable interior and it will be the first building of a health center for a community that presently has no access to health care.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

RHC Interlocking Stabilized Soil Blocks (ISSB)

One of the most exciting innovations of this project is the use of ISSB - interlocking stabilized soil blocks - to replace the typical fired bricks used locally. These come from a hand press and are extremely consistent, durable and strong. They require no firing and have a much longer life span while using much less cement for the mortar. Though these are used in other parts of Africa, they are not commonly used in this region. It is our hope to introduce this technology locally through training and assist the development of local small businesses that would rent the press or produce bricks.

Meetings with Roche Village Council

While in Roche in June, 2010, we had meetings with the Roche Village Council as well as with a newly-formed Roche Health Center Committee. We discussed many issues including the health center goals, progress on construction and the impacts on the community.