“I check out materials available, some villages have stone, some make bricks, everybody had dirt. Timber is scarce and termites eat anything made of wood in weeks. If we use bricks they will need half the forests in Karamoja as firewood to bake them. Not very sustainable…everybody has dirt. Dirt? I remember making bunkers in the army, out of bags filled with dirt. Ah ha! Earthbag construction is the answer. With all that labour we can build earth-bag silos with few inputs. The construction method is used now all over the world with great success.
I placed some orders for hessian bags. No such thing in Uganda. Only potato sacks, which are 3 times too big. After lots of trial and error I end up with 25kg polyethylene rice bags as the material to start the job with. If the bags are too big they hold too much material and people can’t lift them. The trick now is to try them out and do some training at the same time.
I design a curved outdoor bench in our compound. If we are going to experiment we may as well make something permanent. The Green Warrior staff line up and listen while I tell them what we are going to do. They seem a bit bewildered because they have never heard of this type of construction before. Then again, I’ve introduced them to many things they’ve never seen before. I direct them to gather the different materials and tools we need.”