Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Bottle Schools

I started a pretty big project today; if all goes well, at some point in the course of my remaining 21 months in the Peace Corps, I hope to successfully organize the building of a school made from plastic bottles.

If that sounds crazy in English, be assured that it makes even less sense when I try to explain it in Spanish.

Here’s a completed example of what I’m aspiring to:


Sorry I had to blur out the name (PC blog rules) – anyway, can you make out the little black box next to the doorway? It’s directly to the left of that beige post…..this is a close up:


Plastic bottles filled with inorganic trash make up the walls of this building. Surrounded by opposing layers of chicken wire, then covered and smoothed over with a few layers of concrete; voila! you can’t tell it’s just garbage. Meanwhile, the concrete beams and columns you can see outlined in the wall are what hold up the roof and make everything structurally solid.:


Here are a few web resources. This is Hug It Forward, the NGO with whom I hope to partner. Their on-the-ground operations here in Guatemala are managed by an ex-Peace Corps volunteer – the deal, as I understand it, is if the community contributes the mano de obra (physical labor) Hug It Forward will provide most (or all) of the $$ for materials.

Hug It Forward also has a number of videos on YouTube; this one might seem sort of silly, but you get the idea...

I feel like I’ve got Bottle School coming out my ears these days – tons of volunteers are excited about starting their own projects, and here’s a link to an article in a recent Peace Corps newsletter:

Heck, today they even put Bottle School stuff in the local sensationalist rag-of-a-newspaper, El Diario (January 25th 2011, page 13)

It’s pretty exciting stuff…..

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