The Ubuntu Blox concept was invented by Harvey Lacey of Texas, USA. The project was taken up by Haiti Communitere in October 2011 as a means for community outreach, and is currently being run by Tim Overton and Roxanne Duigou, two dedicated volunteers from Canada. The Ubuntu Block project is serving a dual purpose – to clean up the streets and build up the city.
The Ubuntu team are implementing street clean-ups and rubbish collection points to take Styrofoam food containers and film plastic out of the canals and drains around Port-au-Prince to repurpose as building materials. The materials are packed into rice bags and compressed into uniformly sized building blocks using a manual compression machine. The lightweight, flexible nature of the blocks makes them far more earthquake resistant than typical brick or concrete structures. A model Ubuntu home was recently tested for seismic resistance, and passed a simulated 8.2 earthquake with minimal damage.
A month-long community training session began on March 5 at the Resource Center with a group of 24 women from Cite Soleil, teaching the entire Ubuntu process including collection strategies, cleaning methods, using the machine and building structures. Cite Soleil experiences a disproportionate amount of backlash from trash filled canals, since the food containers from more affluent communities collect there on their way out to the ocean, which is why this community has been chosen to pilot the Ubuntu training. Each daily session is aimed at building awareness of the technology, ‘training the trainers’ to take the knowledge and skills back to their community, and empowering women to make a difference for their country. Throughout the training, the Ubuntu team hopes to gain Haitian feedback and perspective on the concept and process.
Haiti Communitere is pleased to announce its first Sustainability Social on Saturday March 31st. We are asking all of our partners to join us in presenting the amazing projects that make this place what it is. Earthship Biotecture will be showcased as well as Earthship projects around the world: Africa, Guatemala, China, India, Canada, etc...
When we first heard about the earthquake in Haiti, we donated some money to help out. We didn’t really think much more about it after the entire buzz was gone. But then, a year after the earthquake I saw some pictures of the situation down there and thought to myself, ‘They still need some help. And so I want to help them.’ I told some friends about my idea, and they liked it too.