To give you an idea which steps are needed to erect four walls for a school, the following will contain a short description.
First of all you need to know that the village Omuhonga, in which the „primary school“ will be refitted and expanded, is pretty remote. The next town where one could get finished bricks (Opuwo) is about 140 km away. Of course, construction cost would rise due to the transport distance of the bricks.
In-house production, however, is an efficient and affordable solution. The school in Omuhonga lies directly beside a dry river called Omuhonga river. ( It only carries water above ground for some weeks in a year. Under the earth, the water flows all year) This dry river offers two huge advantages: for one, there is no need to drill too deep in order to pump water, and on top of that, there are tons of sand in the river bed. Water and sand make two thirds of the ingredients for a solid grout (out of which the bricks are pressed). The third ingredient is cement, which can be brought in by pick-up or jeep from Omuhonga in its powdered form.
The work process with the resources is as follows: Cement, sand (cleaned through a riddle screen) and water are brought to a leveled, straightened surface nearby the Omuhonga river. The sand is mixed with the cement in a 7/1 ratio. To finish it off, water is stirred in and there you have it, all you need for brick making! By the way, the brick grout is stirred by hand / by spade. There is a cement mixer, but it would not deliver a satisfactory result. The heavy machinery is merely there to mix the mortar that will act as the glue between the bricks.
Enter the „tamper“, which can be operated mechanically. The grout is filled into the brick shapes of the stomping device, and by the turn of a lever, the stomper drops a considerable weight on the mix. Having hit the grout with loud thumps several times, the weight pushes the mix into the right brick shape.
Now, the bricks have to wait exactly one week for their actual deployment. Until then, they are showered with water, 3 times a day, for 7 days, to reach a high level of stability.
When the desired degree of rigidity is finally reached, all that is left to do is to stack the little stones with love, positive energy and some mortar. Done!
Since Monday, November 21st, I have been spending my nights in Omuhonga in my tent on the school premises and I am currently focussing on supervision of the students (an exciting weekly report will follow in a few days). I have nevertheless formed a very friendly bond with the construction workers and their bosses, already. I see the walls of the new school tract for four classes (sponsored by CONDOR) getting bigger every day, and I look forward to being able to help next week.
At least that’s the current plan for the next few days. Stay tuned, and send positive energy!