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GSBN:Fwd: Afghanistan Day Straw Bale Project on the D.C.Mall
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- Subject: GSBN:Fwd: Afghanistan Day Straw Bale Project on the D.C.Mall
- From: Catherine Wanek blackrange@...
- Date: Sat, 25 May 2002 13:14:38 +0000
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<font size=3>Dear Colleagues.....
After quite a bit of scrambling this week, Patricia McArdle, a straw-bale
advocate who has never even seen a SB building(!), has managed to pull
together a Builders without Borders SB exhibit for Afghanistan Day on the
Mall in Washington D.C. -- tomorrow!
BWB (Joe Kennedy) has had some discussion with the Afghanistan
Reconstruction Council, who know that our organization is small, but
appreciate the BWB approach to "sustainable
development." It will be interesting to see how this
develops -- the approach we are discussing is to focus on educating
interested Afghan people here in the U.S., or perhaps in Europe, rather
than sending building teams to Afghanistan. As this develops
we will updates.
Meanwhile, read below for more info on the event:
<blockquote type=cite class=cite cite>From: BUILDWITHBALES@...
Date: Sat, 25 May 2002 10:37:01 EDT
Subject: Afghanistan Day Straw Bale Project on the Mall
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
If you are going to be in DC on Sunday, please come by the Afghanistan
festival in front of the Air and Space Museum (11-5). I will be
members of Builders Without Borders (an international volunteer group of
natural builders and architects) constructing a demonstration house out
bales of straw. This is a building technique that was developed by
farmers about 100 years ago, it died out when the railroads brought in
from the east, but with rising energy and housing construction costs, it
undergoing a dramatic revival, especially out west (where some
burn the straw left in their fields after they harvest their grain,
they can't sell it). These house are built by stacking tightly
of straw like bricks, securing them (leaving spaces for doors, windows,
and ducts) and plastering the walls inside and out so you can no longer
it is made of straw. The homes are very quiet, virtually fireproof,
proof, very durable (some are almost 100 years old), they are more energy
efficient than anything on the market. With their thick walls, wide
windowsills, and curving walls they resemble the expensive adobe homes of
southwest. BWB is working with the U.S.-Afghan Reconstruction
help rebuild Afghanistan by helping Afghans design and construct their
homes, schools and clinics using locally available materials and simple
techniques that they can do themselves. The beauty of straw bale
construction is that it lends it self to very upscale, beautiful homes as
well as simple structures in less developed areas. I will have a
books, magazines and pamphlets, we will have 60 bales of straw for the
(we won't plaster the walls since we have to take it down at the end of
day). Come down and have a look. You can even help build the
house if you
like. (This was a rather last minute project. I have included
some of our </blockquote>correspondence below if you want more
<blockquote type=cite class=cite cite>Thanks,</blockquote>Pat McArdle
Director Public Diplomacy Training
Foreign Service Institute Rm F 3101
Department of State
Washington D.C. 20522-4201
Tel. 703-302-7454 Fax 703-302-6866
<blockquote type=cite class=cite cite>
Dear Builders Without Borders Steering Committee,
An opportunity for BWB has come up rather suddenly, that I believe is
making the effort to fulfill -- creating an exhibit and constructing a
bale house on the Mall for Afghan Day, May 26, which is next
though it is very last minute, I believe that I could coordinate the
from here, and Pat McArdle is willing to be the D.C. support and, I have
commitment from Owen Geiger (Pueblo, CO Habitat for Humanity SB
to supervise the building. Darren Port (New Jersey Green
expressed interest, and I will try to enlist some local support from the
network in the D.C. region.
I would like the permission of the Steering Committee to go ahead with
preparations for the event, pending confirmation that the expenses would
covered as described below.
Please read the two emails below, and email your feedback (please
so everyone gets the benefit.) Is anyone else interested in going
to D.C. to
participate? (Sorry the notice was made even shorter, as I
was out of the
office until today, and Joe K. is out of the country.) I will be
week, so you can call me, too.
Subject: AFGHANISTAN DAY Event in Washington, D.C. - May 26, 2002 -
A STRAW BALE HOME
It was nice talking to you earlier on the phone today. We have a
for you that could greatly benefit all parties. Though we are very short
time, which we sincerely apologize for, but we would like to invite
Without Borders (BwoB) to participate in the upcoming AFGHANISTAN DAY
event out on the Mall on Sunday, May 26, 2002 (see notice below). We are
the process of making the final preparations, and if possible we would
to invite at least 4 members from BwoB to come to DC and demonstrate how
build a straw bail house out on the Mall grounds. We thought this would
great opportunity to involve some of the attendees to help throughout the
day, clearly demonstrating how a community in Afghanistan can work
to rebuild their lives. Of course someone from BwoB would be explaining
local materials will be used to build the homes in Afghanistan.
We envision BwoB starting at 11:00 AM and hopefully be done by 5:00 PM,
as the various attendees continue the work it should help ease the task.
this house will be on the Mall, we would have to unfortunately tear it
by 6:00 PM. We are expecting an excellent media turnout for this event,
we have invited those from the Bush Administration, as well as the Head
USAID to speak. This would be an excellent opportunity for BwoB to show
entire country what they do best. If you choose to accept our invitation,
please contact me at your earliest convenience, so I may have time to
getting you the materials needed with the exact measurements. I look
to hearing from you soon to discuss the final details. I very much look
forward to BwoB's positive response. Thank you.
*** First Annual AFGHANISTAN DAY Festival ***
Sunday, May 26th on The National Mall in Washington, D.C.
In the most extraordinary festival of its kind, Afghans, Americans and
people from all over the world are welcome to come and enjoy a day on The
National Mall in Washington, D.C. to celebrate a new day for Afghanistan.
It will be the largest celebration ever for Afghanistan that will include
live Afghan singers, kabob and other ethnic food, and a beautiful Afghan
fashion show. Afghanistan will come alive in the heart of the nation's
WHEN: Sunday, May 26th from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
WHERE: On The National Mall between 4th and 7th streets
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Visit
<a href="http://www.us-arc.org/" eudora="autourl">www.us-arc.org</a>
ADMISSION IS FREE FOR EVERYONE! (Please see the attached flyer and FORWARD
this e-mail to everyone you know.)
Once at the festival, you will be able to donate money to help rebuild
specific schools in Kabul, Afghanistan, through projects established by the
Red Cross and the U.S.-Afghanistan Reconstruction Council (US-ARC).
Come and celebrate Afghanistan's rebirth!
Directions: From I-395 North, exit at 14th Street Bridge, and then make a
right onto Jefferson Drive. Festival will be on your left, between 4th and
7th streets (in front of the Air & Space Museum). Nearest Metro is the
*Though President Reagan designated March 21 as the official Afghanistan
Day, the organizers of this event did not have enough time to make all the
necessary preparations for a festival of this scale by that date. Because
this will be an outdoor event, we chose the May 26 date because the weather
is warmer and it would give adequate time for preparations.
(Please see the attached flyer and FORWARD this e-mail to everyone you
(See attached file: AfghanistanDay-web.jpg)
The U.S.-Afghanistan Reconstruction Council informed me yesterday that they
would be able to provide airfare for BWB members who could come to Washington
DC to build a demo house on the mall. I can provide lodging and large bowls
of spaghetti for up to six people at my house. The Afghans also said they
could get supplies donated from Home Depot and straw from a local farmer. I
don't know these people well, so I can't provide a firm guarantee that they
would be able to come through with the promised supplies, but I do believe
they are sincere in their desire to showcase BWB and promote the
reconstruction of their country. I told them that if it isn't possible to
construct a demonstration straw bale house on the mall (and tear it down at
the end of the day---what a waste!), I will print out material from the
internet on BWB and straw bale construction, set up a table and hand out
information to those attending. I don't know what kind of a crowd this event
will attract, but if its a sunny day, there will be several thousand people.
Some background: A member of the U.S. Afghan-Reconstruction Council
contacted me after I had attended a D.C. conference on women in development a
few weeks after the 9/11 attacks. While at the conference I spoke with an
Afghan woman about using straw bale construction or other natural building
techinques to rebuild homes and schools in Afghanistan. She told her nephew,
who called me. When he and his colleagues came over to my house to discuss
their plans, we called Joe. They have just come back from Afghanistan and
are ready to start tapping into the funds that are available for
reconstruction. I'm still a bit concerned about the security situation
Let me know what you think about this. If anyone is interested in pursuing
it, I'll take some time off to meet with the Afghans and get more details.
Otherwise, any suggestions you have for materials I could download and print
out would be much appreciated.