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RE: GSBN:Greeting from Pakistan

Hello Martin and Darcy,

We met at the ISSBC in Peterborough. To help your expense issues there are
a couple folks I've worked with over the past couple years who have worked
with locally (US) indigenous third world communities developing inexpensive
roofing systems. One is George Nez, an engineer who developed a hypar,
nominal material, latex concrete roof. I know it sounds weird but it works.
I've built two; one at the U. of Colorado for a training structure and one
on the Pine Ridge Reservation. You can see how little material goes into
such a roof by visiting  <a  target="_blank" href="http://www.geocities.com/flyingconcrete/hypar.htm";>http://www.geocities.com/flyingconcrete/hypar.htm</a>
or Google 'George Nez Roof'. They are simple to build, use very little
material and are most resilient and waterproof, built relatively quickly,
can be lifted by a group of people, built in halves and transported easily.
George worked disaster relief for the US government in Central America for
years. He realized the need for erecting roofs quickly and letting the
locals use their standard indigenous wall methods. I know the tents weren't
doing well in Pakistan, especially in the winter.

The other roofing system was through a group call World Hand Project,
<a  target="_blank" href="http://www.worldhandsproject.org/";>http://www.worldhandsproject.org/</a>, run by straw bale enthusiast Alfred
vonBachmayr. Alfred has developed a method of building roof trusses by de
constructing and then reconstructing the materials of the pallets into
trusses. It is labor intensive but very inexpensive. If you can make your
own bales from loose straw, maybe you can do this with pallets...if they
are as available there as here. He also makes walls from pallets and fills
them with straw/clay and plasters them.

Please contact me if you've any further interest in either of these roof
systems...we would be happy to talk over the winter when you're back in the
States. George is currently training folks who are working in Afghanistan
and the Sudan with his roof system and variations of his hypar, thin shell
concrete system.

Great work you guys, you are to be commended !!

Safe Travels,
Mark Schueneman
Colorado Straw Bale Association
303-444-6027 hm./of.
303-591-9841 cell

> [Original Message]
> From: Martin Hammer mfhammer@...
> To: GSBN@...
> Date: 11/15/2006 10:23:33 PM
> Subject: GSBN:Greeting from Pakistan
> Dear GSBN members -
>   As-salam alekum (may peace be with you).  Darcey Donovan and I have one
more day here in northern Pakistan for our recent effort to bring straw
bale building to this earthquake devastated region.  Darcey has been here
six weeks and I four weeks.
>   A remarkable and unforgettable experience in countless ways.  The
devastation from the 2005 earthquake is difficult to explain or comprehend.
The sight of collapsed buildings (unreinforced masonry and under-reinforced
concrete alike), and people living in tents or other temporary shelter is
routine.  Stories of lost family members and friends are commonplace (over
87,000 died).  But in spite of the staggering material losses and human
suffering, the people here are resilient, and are taking whatever action
they can to rebuild their lives.
>   Many N.G.O.'s are trying to assist, and the Pakistani government has a
comprehensive plan in place, although money for rebuiliding has had
difficulty reaching the people.  Also the approved designs have
shortcomings, not the least of which is the designs are not buildable
within the money alloted to each family.
>   Darcey and I began construction of a prototype straw bale residence in
the Village of Hillkot, with a class of trainees.  We constructed the
foundation, made almost 300 bales (there are no machine-made straw bales in
Pakistan, but lots of rice and wheat straw), made site-built trusses and
structural window bucks.  As we were about to stack bale walls and put up
trusses, the weather changed dramatically, bringing rain to the site and
snow to surrounding higher elevations in these foothills of the Himalaya.
Winter has begun here.
>   We opted to stop construction and return in March.  We used this past
week to conduct numerous successful meetings with N.G.O.s and government
officials, in order to develop as many partner relationships as possible.
Everyone has been very receptive.  Today we meet with the all-important
Pakistani Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Agency, as well as
UNICEF who is in charge of rebuilding over 500 schools.
>   Darcey and I are very optimistic that straw bale construction can be
utilized here to the great benefit of the Pakistani people.  It is a
perfect fit in many ways.  The potential for it to take off over then next
3 to 5 years might be without precedent.  We have clear ideas about how
this can best happen.  We will try to bring new people into the effort as
necessary, and at some point might put out an invitation or request to the
>   Nothing more at this point.  I simply wanted to give a quick report to
everyone on the GSBN about our experience in Pakistan.  It has greatly
affected both of us.
>   Martin Hammer
>   PS - Bill C. - Did you send Darcey her invitation to join the GSBN.  I
don't believe she has received a GSBN e-mail yet.
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