In my job as what Ben describes as “the environmental consciousness of CO2 Bambu”, I have been searching for the entry point to introduce natural buildling practices to CO2 Bambu. Mud construction, adobe, straw/bale etc are all variations on the theme of using locally available material that is therefore more ecological than concrete, durable, aesthetic, lower cost and did I mention it ?…. environmentally responsible.
For the past year I have been spreading my network and raising my knowledge of construction with mud and related materials leveraging our active facebook friend community and whispering in Ben’s ear “time to start using mud!” In reality I have been whispering this for quite some time.. However, CO2 had other priorities namely establishing ourselves itself on the Nicaraguan market, getting the bamboo economy off the ground, getting Nicaraguan authorities to officially and explicitly approve bamboo housing construction……. (which occurrred recently when the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure released a document called Cartilla de la Construcion, which for the first time EVER, features bamboo construction as “standard.”
Recently we reconnected with two natural builders who have valuable expertise on the subject and who kindly agreed to join an effort to demonstrate bamboo plus mud housing in Granada. My whispering became more insistent with louder decibels and Ben agreed that it was time to put into practice this piece of our vision. Fast forward two weeks of spinning dervish to orchestrate a multidimensional effort and Ben delivers a solution which includes our participation with a local technical school, the participation of the two mud construction experts and a young Nicaraguan civil engineer Allan, who will be our lead for future mud construction and most importantly, Ben identified the site and the customer in need of two small, 90s feet structures. For the last two weeks, I (Peta) have participated in the mud building workshop, with much glee.
I have a long background with mud. Not a professional background, like our expert builders but more of a personal background. I grew up on a hillside in Johannesburg, South Africa in a house that my father designed and had built into the hill, with no neighbors on either side for miles. As a young child I spend many delicious delightful hours playing with sand, earth, water and therefore mud. One of my favorite book is naturally African Canvas, which illustrates beautifully African mud houses. So this foray into mud building is a visceral comfort zone for me and happens to be the environmentally responsible solution to the global housing crisis in general and our buisness financials as well, as the raw material can be found locally everywhere and is free. It makes complete sense!
So business strategy aside, I had so much FUN! Somehow the students (ages ranging from 14 to 19) and CO2 Bambu workers stayed pretty clean … I however, had mud up to my elbows, in my hair in my sandals and everywhere. No surprise!
Thanks to Austin of www.casadetierra.com of who lives in San Jan del Sur for volunteering his time and making it happen (even though his wife Michelle is due to have her baby.. a week ago) and Liz Johndrow of
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