Monday, May 14, 2012

Djibouti Eco-Dome for the Afar Nomad People - 2012

(Picture of Afar child in Djibouti)
The newly formed Sudans are currently in very vulnerable states  - with fighting between the Republic of the Sudan and the Republic of South Sudan over unresolved issues from the Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2005.  Access and fundraising are limited.  In the mean time, HS4S's founder has been working in Djibouti and - as a side line - started a project with the Afar villagers, the Djiboutian Armed Forces, and the US military Civil Affairs teams to build an Eco-Dome in the mountains.    The dome is particularly suitable for the extremely harsh climate in an area with little water and no electricity or roads. 
(HS4S Founder above left with KarabtiSan Child. Above right villagers starting construction of the dome at the end of 2011)
Karabti San is an Afar village about three quarters of the way between Lake Assal and Balho.  Three Civil Affairs teams have been working to start a project that is largely run by the villagers.  The Civil Affairs team from 2011 and 2012 - CPT Lev's team - took up the mantle from SGT Erickson's project of building a 'practice dome' (see last blog 2010) while building relationships with the villagers - and carried it to new heights in the hills of Djibouti.The number of children in this village is not great enough to warrant a state sponsored school but the Civil Affairs team garnered collective support to build a community center that could be used as a school and a clinic.  This is a basic earth building ( that will not require much upkeep, will still be in place if the nomads leave and return, and will not change the environment.  The nomads feel that since it is made of the earth, that Allah would approve.

Over two years, the team has won the trust, support and help of the villagers and the DJ army to do the project.  Much of the material was donated (by Homes for Sudan and others) and all of the work done by the villagers, the CA team and the DJ military.  The Karabti San dome is a simple two dome structure consisting of an 11 foot dome connected to a 20 foot dome.  This design is flexible.  On a recent visit by the ministry of health, they recommended that the villagers build an additional two single dome structures as two extra classrooms.  These would be much simpler than the attached domes. This dome has a loft second floor that could accommodate an itinerant teacher or nurse.
The Civil Affairs team and the Djiboutian military have brought the local Prefect, the sub Prefect, the Sultan, the ministry of health and education, as well as the World Food Program and the International Red Crescent into the project.  The WFP set up a food for work for the villagers who are working on the dome to get extra food rations.  Half of the villagers who reside in this area came from a remote village across the mountains (a 14 hour walk) where there is no road that the WFP could use for food delivery.  The villagers essentially have no means for earning a living except through their animals.  The dome project provided building skills for many of the men in the village.  Several of the men have gotten jobs as a result of the learning and left to work on paid projects such as road building.
 The team has two more visits scheduled before it returns to the USA and turns its projects over to the new team.  We hope to get the women of the village to participate in the plastering of the outside. The picture below shows an amazing relationship built over time with the villagers and the great pride and ownership that the villagers feel toward the building. 

1 comment:

Lee Howard said...

It is good to see that they did a great job on the dome. Both in construction and in politics. The Kara b ti san villagers will take great pride in the new building and the fact thaty they played a vital part in its construction.