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GSBN:Euro help for Russian project

(Sent for Catherine Wanek. If you get a bounce message when you try to send to the list, feel free to let me know or send it to me to forward on. We've been having a little trouble with mail routing. -- BC)

Dear European colleagues --

Builders Without Borders is consulting with a group of Russian eco-warriors about building a straw-bale visitor's center in a fairly pristine and spectacularly beautiful area of southern Siberia known as the Altai region. We actually got to meet face-to-face with the wonderful team, when they visited the U.S. in 2003, for a natural building colloquium and a tour of some strawbale buildings. They got their hands in the mud and stacked some bales for the first time and were hooked. (You know the feeling.) Also, they got to meet Matts & Judy, David E, and many more knowledgeable strawbalers who helped with advice.

This year they have things lined up to actually build. There are two U.S. translators and a couple U.S. strawbale builders (engineer Jeff Ruppert and Paul Koppana) who have committed to going over in July to help with the construction, though funding is not completely assured. We plan to create a workshop around this opportunity, and help to pay some of the BWB expenses from this.

However, the Russians still have many questions, and some preliminary strawbale work has given them doubts and second thoughts. (I am not actually clear about what went wrong.) Also they are very unsure about using earth plaster now.

To try to help them long-distance through translators is difficult, so I thought perhaps there might be one or two European strawbalers who would be willing to visit Russia in person sometime this month to help figure out what the problems are and give them advice and confidence. BWB has very limited funds, but we could reimburse partial expenses. Of course, if someone got involved at this, the design stage, they would be most welcome to return for the building process... and hopefully be paid a small stipend plus expenses.

I don't have all the on-the-ground details, but I just heard that one of the U.S. translators is going to travel to Russia in the next week to meet with them. This may be the best timing to go, but perhaps impossible to get a trip (visa?) together with such short notice. Still, anytime in the next few weeks would probably work. Is there anyone from the GSBN who can help, or can you recommend someone that could help?
Best Regards,
Catherine Wanek
Administrative Coordinator
Builders Without Borders

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired
signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not
fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not
spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the
genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of
life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity
hanging on a cross of iron.
--President Dwight Eisenhower, 1953 speech