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Official Handover Earthbag House

Today was a memorable day! The official handover of our All Round Project 16.02 is a fact.

Three weeks ago, we started in good spirits with a lot of work ahead to build on our earthbag house. During the past weeks, we challenged not only the students but also ourselves to build two entire houses inside and outside, fully furnished!

In the beginning we were guiding and assisting the students on using the right techniques of building with earthbags. Dividing them in different teams for digging, mixing & filling we worked the most efficient and after a couple of days, everybody got the hang of the system! My optimistic estimation of filling 100(!) big bags a day was suddenly exceeded and there was even a day were we placed 150 bags!

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We also designed the carpentry ourselves and Tom, a skillful teacher of the school, made it while we continued building. Every row of bags we built something else interesting happened: the 1rst rows we added cement to our bags for extra strength, the 4th row we placed small wooden beams to later on support the beds, the 8th row came the window frame came,… A very special part of our building is the covered outdoor entrance zone. The two entrances facing each other pulling colorful light in the houses through a bottle wall. We did a big collection moment in Moshi for all non-disposable glass bottles.

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As our building grew taller, the difficulty of filling the bags while standing on top of wall was growing along. Luckily, our earthbag wall was 40cm wide so our strong students continued without fear standing on our walls! A great advantage in keeping our house cool is our earthbag roof placed on a wooden structure. This way we have a certain mass to keep the heath outside.

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To deliver a complete project to the Maasai family we plastered both inside and outside of the houses first with earth plaster and to finish two layers of lime plaster. The last days we covered the outdoor space with a wooden pergola structure to offer shade and create a pleasant sitting area. The teachers gave this space a personal touch by laying a floor of river stones and engraving the schools’ name.

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Delivery day! Placing the beds, mattresses and last layer of paint took place while the first people arrived to the festivities. At 4.00PM the official handover started by a word of welcome by Creaid, a speech of chairman of the village, followed by speeches of the teachers and the students. Finally, the family was officially welcomed in their new houses under loud cheering of the Maasai people of the village! The atmosphere was abundant, many people spontaneously started dancing and this continued for many, many hour. I had a wonderful time working on this project, from the first day to the last, every moment was unforgettable.

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