Friday, July 06, 2018

Week One: Mayo Building Workshop hosted by Mayo Women’s Association – ‘Dalu for Development’

Engineer Raania, Ustaz Hooman Fazly, Dr. Ahmed, Jooren, and Mathias
In cooperation with the University of Khartoum’s Faculty of Architecture: ‘Homes for Sudan’s’ 'Superadobe' expert Hooman Fazly and experienced earth-builders from ‘For a Purpose’ Jooren Surmont and Mathias Vandewouwer, are conducting a training workshop to build a two-dome structure housing the Women’s Training Center in Mayo.

We intend for this to be a benchmark project to “train the trainers” for the greater Sudan to teach local people how to build dome structures that are eco-friendly, tree free, flood resistant, earthquake resistant, and fireproof. The project will be part of the research at the University of Khartoum’s Faculty of Architecture. We are also partnering with an instructor from the University of Khartoum School of Business and Management to provide participants with instruction in business startup and management.  The project is partially funded by USAID/TEPS (Toward Enduring Peace in Sudan) and the Stead Family Foundation.

The architects from ‘ARC Peace Sudan’ are participating in the workshop as observers and supporters in order to facilitate a village design project they are working on in North Darfur. The Deputy Dean of the Department of Architecture at the University of Khartoum is advising the Mayo project as well as Architect Adam Chalupski, who inspired the undertaking.

On the first few days of our extraordinary journey south into the sandy outskirts of Khartoum’s Mayo district we attracted considerable curiosity from the local kids.

Many of the people from the community of Mayo originally hail from Darfur or the Nuba Mountains. The ladies from the training center had some difficulty understanding the concept of learning a building method in order to teach their friends and neighbors how to provide their own houses safe from fires, floods, and conflict. 

During the week our Homes for Sudan director, our two earth-builders from 'For A Purpose' Mathias and Jooren, the greatly enthusiastic and helpful staff from USAID/TEPS, and the regional council met multiple times to help them gain understanding and to help us get a formal approval letter.
Abdul Raazig, Abdul Jalid  and Yassir from AECOM

The TEPS ladies and the ladies of Dalu

The council delivered on Thursday - the last day of the week - when Abdul Jalid, the headman of the regional council returned from a trip to Kosti and handed us their approval letter.  They asked us for a nice big printout of the potential building to put in the office in the UN Habitat compound. The University of Khartoum’s Deputy Dean of the School of Architecture kindly agreed to print one for us.

We held our collective breaths during the week while tearing down the old building – in anticipation of approval for that and building the new one.

The old building was not much to look at and the community didn’t seem to be shedding many tears at its removal. Three of the local teenage boys showed up, so Mathi and Djo – who just arrived from an earth-building project in Nepal – put them to work.  We said if they worked well, we would hire them after a week.
The old training center

By the end of day one, the gang had all of the corrugated metal removed from the building and several of the metal beams sawed and removed. We hadn’t expected to have to remove the old building, but Djo and Mathi made great use of some nice power tools that we purchased to make the process a lot smoother and faster.
On the second day when we could not build, Alia and Reem, two of the women from USAID/TEPS, Mathi, Djo, and Dr. Marie visited Afra Plastic Industries and got a nice tour of the factory.

The company donated a 500 meter roll of 60 cm polypropylene bags for the project suitable for the foundation and the buttresses, and the owner of the factory offered to help us find the 50 cm bags for the upper part of the structure.

Afraa Plastics

The tour of the factory run by some lovely Syrians was one of the highlights of the week.

Day three continued with tearing down the rest of the metal framework and clearing the cement foundation.

Djo took extra time with Osman to teach him to use an angle saw and Mathi taught all the boys to use the power drill.

By day three the building was all down except for the foundation.
Mathi teaching drilling

The guys rescued the door to use later on the dome, and the other material to construct a shed for shade and the security guard.
Aiman and Osman working on shed

Mathias and Djo with their completed shelter
While the builders were busy on site with the tear down, the USAID/TEPS team helped us with some final grant details, and the University of Khartoum helped us to estimate a BOQ for the building; the most difficult part of the proposal, since we were not sure exactly how much material the two domes would take. A few trips to the market for price check and some small purchases gave us a better estimation.

It was a week well done.

Our team leader Hooman finally arrived at the end of the week that held its unique Sudanese challenges.  There will be many hurdles yet to leap. We must first get final approval of the second part of the grant, get MOUs signed by the trainees from Mayo Women’s Association Dalu for Development, USAID/TEPS, SHPDO (Sudanese Helif for Peace and Development Organization) and NOHS (National Organization for Humanitarian Services). So far we have 16 trainees from Darfur and Nuba Mountains, with education levels ranging from grade school to university level. The trainees will be at the site daily, while the architects from ARC Peace Sudan will participate intermittently, as they all have jobs, but are working on village plans for Darfur, complete with houses, markets, schools and mosques. They would like to adapt the ‘Superadobe’ method for as many buildings as possible.

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