"If you have come here to help me, then you are wasting your time. But if you have come here because your liberation is bound up in mine, then let us work together" -Lilla Watson, Aboriginal Activist

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Bottle School Update

OG volunteers sorting bottles

After many months of planning, collecting bottles, community meetings, and trainings, the bottle school is beginning to really take shape.  The excitement in Tzibal is palpable.

Two weeks ago Tzibal had the honor of a wonderful week-long visit from a group of volunteers from Operation Groundswell.  Operation Groundswell is a grassroots tourism organization whose primary goal is "backpacking with a purpose."  The 11 volunteers (Canadian and American University students/recent grads) stayed in the village with host families and worked at the school each day, classifying the 10,000 bottles (a horribly tedious task that I owe them big time for) hauling rocks, and playing with the village children.  I owe these guys a huge thanks for their time, dedication, and amazing enthusiasm for the bottle project and the Tzibal community at large.  The community could not have been prouder to host this lovely group of "kaxlan," and their stay will long be remembered by the families they stayed with and the children who will soon have a brand-new school.

Tying in the first row of bottles to the chicken wire

Yesterday, Chris and Juan Manual from Hug It Forward drove out to give me and the community a training session on how to properly assemble the bottle walls. The process itself isn't difficult, so the community will be doing it themselves as part of their contribution to the project.  This is how the bottle walls work:

The foundation and beaming is done in the traditional manner using rebarb and cement.  Then, in the empty wall spaces, a piece of chicken wire is stretched taut over the opening, against which bottles are stacked neck-to-neck, and closed in with a second sheet of chicken wire.  The bottles, or eco-bricks, act as the wall filling, thus rendering cement blocks unnecessary.  There you have it---a school made of trash-filled bottles.

Our completed bottle wall

With the bottle wall construction underway, we are hoping to finish the school and open it for business!  We are, however, still lacking funds to buy some of the final materials.  If you can, please donate to Hug It Forward by clicking here, and help the Tzibal community finish what it started!

1 comment:

  1. So exciting to see the walls getting put up!! I love reading your blogs Hannah and seeing all your pictures!
    ~Much love from your OG amiga, Allison