Bricks and their appropriate technology
Tom_Helmer 100000VYY2 Visits (1123)
We have finished our first week in Malawi. I have been focusing on the use of appropriate technology for an environment with limited power distribution and reliability. This drove us to bring hand tools with us and the fact you can get more hand tools per dollar than power tools (I found an exception to this - go try to buy a hand powered drill at Lowes). Somebody Cares is th the local group we are working with and they have a cool hand tool to make bricks. This is very much an appropriate technology for this area - lots of clay. We made the bricks to complete the Kalimbira Community Center.
I will add a photo of the brick machine and the youth using the tools when I get back to the States - I can't get it to upload from here in Malawi.
The tools we brought included speed squares with an integrated level and string. These were put to good use when we used the bricks we made to finish the center. My day was made when one of the youth who had been working his tail off ask if he could have the level. This is why we came - to teach the youth how to use basic tools so they can be productive and add to the economy. These kids attacked the work, really wanted to learn, and had a great deal of pride in their completed Community Center.
The thing that I am finding interesting is the work I am doing here is no different for the work I do with developerWorks for the IT professional. The technology and tools are different, but the need to people skilled on technology and tools is the same. Skills drive the economy provided the skills are appropriate to the local demand.