Diary of improvements in Kenya: First impressions
|Diego with boys and girls from the orphanage
At the beginning of June, Diego traveled to Nairobi to carry out improvement works in the orphanage and school with whom we collaborate.
after that in Tumaini we successfully completed the crowdfunding campaign and that the company Training Express donate 3,000 euros for these works, we decided to look for a person specialized in bioconstruction to carry out the improvement of the facilities in the most sustainable way possible.
In Kenya everything is very different and this kind of construction is still very unknown. That's why we have Diego, specialist in bioconstruction with experience in this type of work in other countries.
The work includes aspects that go beyond the purely technical. Diego will present this kind of construction. It will explain what it consists of and its benefits so that the community accepts it.
We do not know if all the improvements can be made with this technique, but Diego is working with Julius, founder of the project, so that you understand that it is a good option and that it will bring many benefits to the center.
In these months, Diego will tell us how the process is going. In addition, we will have your impressions, your way of working with the people at the center, the difficulties you encounter, etc.
In this first post he tells us his first impressions and the progress in the design of the improvements:
“My first impressions upon arrival were the chaos of the city, the palpable poverty, the dirt and the reckless driving. At school everything is calmer. children are lovely, the teachers too and Julius and Tabitha are very attentive.
The facilities need a lot of improvement, especially the children's rooms. Many of them share a bed and their room is made of sheet metal, with holes through which the cold and mosquitoes enter.
The relationship with Julius is cordial, we have some misunderstandings, but I think it's because of the cultural difference and way of doing things. The amount of needs they have to cover is very large, so the money goes very quickly for food, clothing, gasoline to transport children who come from abroad, etc.
In April, the city council, after reviewing the center, concluded that it was urgent to improve the facilities. The most pressing improvements are:
- Improve the conditions of the bathrooms.
- Improve the conditions where children sleep.
- Improve the conditions of the kitchen and the food they receive.
- Access to drinking water.
The work that I have come to do here consists of the improvement of the hygienic conditions of the bathrooms and the enlargement and room improvement. In these three weeks I have been able to learn a bit and see how people work here and what their main concerns are.
As for the bathrooms, we have found that they have been built quickly to prevent the city council from closing the school. They are latrines with a simple hole where waste accumulates. This generates strong odors, insects, decomposition gases and bacteria, which translates into high insalubrity.
|Starting to see the status of materials
We have begun to budget for the construction of septic tanks to improve the hygienic conditions of the bathrooms. Here we find ourselves with the problem of the little space available and the high groundwater level (groundwater level) that exists in this area.
At the moment I am still working on the design, study of water infiltration in this highly clayey terrain and the search for information and low cost local experiences. We are still coming out of the rainy season, so we need to wait until August to dig the pits. Otherwise, it becomes very complicated with the rain and the need to drain the water from the excavation with a pump, which we do not have.
Regarding the expansion and improvement of the rooms where the children live, I have begun to draw plans and proposals for their improvement. To improve thermal conditions and air infiltration, I have proposed using earth as a construction material, which has not been very well received.
Here the vision of the earth as a construction material is terrible, associated with extremely poor areas and of very poor quality. Every time I talk to you about moth (land in Kiswahili) they look at me like a madman and laugh. To teach them the benefits of the earth it is necessary to do something so that they can see and understand it.
Julius's proposal is to put some OSB or chipboard panels and give it a coat of paint, which will not greatly improve the thermal conditions of the rooms and prevent air infiltration between the metal sheets. In the end we have reached an agreement and we are going to make one of the rooms with a quincha system (constructive system composed of a wooden structure filled with mud-straw and plastered on both sides with mud) taking advantage of the existing wooden structure that currently holds the metal sheets. At this time, I am budgeting for all the materials that are needed.
Personally I have felt very comfortable in general with Julius, Tabitha, the teachers, the people who work here and above all, the children.
The process is slow, but little by little we are doing things and soon we will start building. In this way they will be able to see for themselves what can be done with earth and other less harmful materials.”
Soon we will tell you about the progress in construction and how to do the works. Don't miss this job from which we are all learning a lot.
If you want to know more about this type of construction and Diego you can enter his blog: https://bioconstruyendokenia.wordpress.com/