Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Construction Process

The construction of these homes is quite simple. The Habitat construction staff is divided into three groups for each house: foundation, walls, and roof. There is at least one "master builder" for each group, along with a young apprentice. Our team is divided up each morning to join one of these groups. There may be several foundations, walls, and/or roofs being worked on in any one day. The skills required are taught by the "master builder", usually through modeling. Each process is labor intensive, requiring hauling rocks, compacting the foundation, mixing mortar in a pit on the ground, sawing posts and reeds, wire tying, etc. All this is done by hand with the few tools available. Other than that, hard work and patience are the only things needed of you.
Last year, our team of 16 was able to nearly complete 16 houses in 8 days (the wooden doors had not been made, nor the latrines dug, which are both necessary for the house to be considered complete). These 16 houses became homes for 16 women (mothers, caregivers) and 80 children. Quite remarkable for just 8 days!!

The pictures above demonstrate parts of the processes. Also included in the pictures below is a white plastic "teepee" which was the only home one mother with three children had. Another picture shows a completed home next to the former home of mud, plastic, sticks and scrap metal pieces.

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