Day 3: bamboo workshop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today I drive with Regine to attend Kevins workshop on building with bamboo that he is offering for NGOs and anyone else interested. Kevin is a specialist in building with natural materials such as straw, bamboo and even rubble reuse.

Even though his “camp site” is only 20 minutes from Regine’s house, it takes us over an hour to get there due to the heavy traffic. Lots of little hand painted “buses” abound – individually owned businesses. Each have different messages written on them creating unique themes and adding lots of color to the streets.

 

 

There are about fifteen people that show up to the workshop, from an American Red Cross representative to volunteers for Architects for Humanity.
There is definitely an interest in bamboo and how it is used for construction, yet often people seem to have very preconceived ideas which are erroneous such as the notion that bamboo is not strong or that is not as good as concrete. One of the biggest misconceptions is that bamboo does not have the longevity of

concrete. Kevin explains that every single housing material needs to be

maintained, whether its bamboo, wood or concrete.

Most people think that modern housing in the US is made of concrete. In actual fact the houses being built in the US are primarily done with wood structures (2x4s), covered in plaster. In the case of bamboo houses, the bamboo replaces the wood and can also be covered in plaster. Kevin does a good job of giving the basic biology of bamboo as well as illustrations of what has been done from small housing to large cathedrals in Latin America and China.

After the workshop is done, Regine and I drive to meet Ben for lunch, catching up with him after his meetings. Driving through Port Au Prince there are large trucks moving debris which block the narrow streets, and progress is typically slow. There is much to see from the car as we move through different neighborhoods. Regine points out where tall buildings once stood and there are some buildings that are completely wrangled and collapsed into strange forms. After lunch we head home as I have a much needed massage awaiting me. Later Blake joins us with his stories of his interviews with the embassy and his afternoon, riding in a UN truck. He has been very adept at getting interviews with key people, campaign managers, the U.S. ambassador etc. It will be interesting to see what coverage he gets after this trip…

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