Haitian Families get injection of STEEL!

12 Nov

Man, you guys are great!

While I toil and slave over a hot keyboard, trying to get a couple of ISBU fires put out…

John over at the UmBlog comes thru for us (once again – atta boy John!) and points his flashlight into the darkness to illuminate yet another ISBU Success Story waiting to happen.

And it’s one dear to my heart as the benefactors are Haitian families recovering from the terrible earthquake that claimed hundreds of thousands of victims.

While “high profile” agencies and organizations posed for cameras and “played politics”, it seems like the only tangible help in Haiti is coming from “common – everyday” people like you and me.

As you know, the Corten Cavalry sent 20′ ISBU Medical Stations to Haiti. Staffed by volunteer doctors, nurses and aid workers, they help the population as they can.

BUT, projects like this one are the FUTURE of Haiti.

Each family housed helps secure Haiti’s healing. THAT is “Goodness at Olympian Levels”.

From http://www.HaitiGreenHome.org;

Building Back Better Communities

Building Back Better Communities has been initiated by the Government of Haiti to investigate alternative forms of permanent housing for displaced citizens.

We look forward to participating in the dialogue about housing in Haiti, and helping Haitians imagine new and innovative housing forms. We are prepared to make a long-term commitment and have the experience and financial support to do so.

We have carefully considered how to best serve the needs of the Haitian people in this effort, how to provide immediate relief, a long-term solution and a path to self-sufficiency. What we have devised is a housing initiative, not simply a housing product. In Phase 1 of our initiative, our team will deliver a self-start housing kit that will provide immediate housing for thousands of families.

The kits include a recycled, donated, and cleaned shipping container, divided in half for two families that provides a compact, protected area for living, sleeping, cooking, and secure, dry storage. Aluminum struts for a rigid structural frame are also part of the kit so that, in Phase 2, permanent walls and a roof can be applied using local materials such as compressed earth bricks or blocks with an additive of crushed rubble and reinforced with bamboo poles acting as natural “rebar.” These permanent elements will be designed to resist earthquake and hurricane forces.

Our initiative responds to the immediate crisis by providing housing for thousands. The beauty of the solution is that these self-start housing kits evolve to become permanent homes, in vibrant, livable communities that express and reflect the fullness of Haitian culture.

Further, our initiative includes a training program to teach Haitians to fabricate the self-start housing kits locally. Once we achieve a reliable production level, all manufacturing will be done in Haiti, which will mean skills transfer, economic opportunity, jobs, and better lives.

Our response describes our initiative and expert international team (HaitiGreenHome.org) that has worked together on various projects since 9/11 in New York at Ground Zero, in New Orleans and India, and other post-disaster sites including Haiti. Each firm contributes critical skills, proven experience, and the commitment and compassion to make this initiative a resounding success. Our team is multi-cultural and multi-generational, and includes Haitians and French speakers.

Throughout our proposal we have stressed that our team offers a housing initiative, not simply a housing product. While our self-start housing kit addresses the desperate need for housing in the short-term, our initiative contemplates the mid- and long-term need of the Haitian people for skills, jobs, and stability. To ensure success, we intend to establish a community design and business incubator that will partner local residents and businesses with US companies and universities.

We are making a ten-year commitment to supply this center with the staff and resources to bring real, lasting change to Haiti.


Okay campers, what have we learned?

This construction technique is almost exactly like things we’ve been teaching for years.

In fact, we’ve built THIS very structure (and a few nearly identical too), several times, on several continents.

Start SMALL. Begin with what you NEED.

Use a roofing system to “reclaim the outdoors” and allow you to live “larger”.

As time and money allow, build “out” to encompass that reclaimed space, enlarging the dwelling.

But Haiti poses problems. Materials are pretty scarce.

What if they used EARTHBAGS to build those new walls?

They have DIRT  (which could easily be stabilized with cement or even clay) and bags are cheap and could be easily supplied. They come palletized or in huge rolls that could be shipped in. A roll of bag material equals about 3,000 bags, if I remember correctly.

(And I recently learned from a very reliable source that they already have a factory IN HAITI that produces bags that would work just fine. Thanks, OWEN!)

Plaster over those walls (you can learn ALL you ever wanted to know HERE)  and you have the makings of a very affordable, durable, weather resistant dwelling, for pennies on the dollar.

A family here in America (and elsewhere) could do the same thing, to provide a small vacation cabin, “rural home” or even (gasp!) a “fall-back ” home using 20′ High Cube (because they are TALLER) ISBUs as the starting point.

If you’re looking for a place to help, or you just have a few bucks to spare, I bet that HaitiGreen Home.org could sure use the assistance.

And, from what I’ve learned about them, any financial assistance they receive goes straight to families and not big, multi-layered organizations. 😉

And you all know how Ronin feels about FAMILIES, right? 🙂

Now, I gotta write an email to Owen over at the Earthbag Building Blog to see if I can hook these two guys up. Together, they could probably rebuild Haiti by themselves! 🙂

Stay tuned.

Image and the “stolen blurb” 🙂 are credited to: “HaitiGreenHome.org

JOHN is credited as being a fine example of “The Corten Cavalry Fellowship”… sans ring or trip to Mordor… 😉

Owen gets the “Good Lookin Out” award.

Blame ME for the rest.


2 Responses to “Haitian Families get injection of STEEL!”

  1. John Umland November 12, 2010 at 4:13 pm #

    You are right, combining with Owen’s earthbags would make a great structure without worrying about the termites that will chew away wood frames.
    I also agree that these small NGO’s are the ones able to get the most done in the most efficient way.
    God is good

  2. Renaissance Ronin November 13, 2010 at 1:10 am #

    Hi John,

    Thanks again for lookin out!

    Yeah, almost all of us have access to dirt! Coupled with a stabilizing agent, you can easily construct a sturdy (even anti-ballistic) dwelling using our backs and shoulders.

    Think of how dramatically that will cut down on the required building supplies!

    I’ve already gotten hammered by several families who want to build this, ASAP.

    I’ve contacted Owen over at the Earthbag Building Blog (that’s http://www.earthbagbuilding.com) to see if he wants to collaborate and do an educational/instructional series.

    You’d be amazed how fast these homes can be constructed.

    Watch and see!

Comments are closed.