Handmade bricks in Otepic

Handmade Bricks

Why buy bricks if you can make them at home? The crew of the ecological project Otepic in Kitale, Northwestern Kenya, makes bricks manually. Without using any electricity. Zero-emission footprint. They want to construct a seminar center in Sabwani Garden, the largest of the three gardens they own. It will be a school for permaculture and ecological living and farming. The aim is to start this year and finish by next summer (2017). The guys are so fast – you can already pack your backpack and get ready for the first seminar :).

The material they use is the clayey soil from Sabwani. With picks and shovels they “harvest” the soil and mix it with cement and water. Before use, all roots from the grass need to be removed to make the bricks more durable. Then they put the mixture in the manual brick machine, use a lot of muscles and body weight and ready is the brick.

The bricks harden in the sun for at least two days. The morning dew contributes to their durability because it helps clay and cement to connect better. Heavy rain, however, can destroy the bricks. For long-term use, they need to be stored inside. The house should be constructed in a way that protects walls from rain. For internal walls these bricks are fine.

Below you find pictures from the construction site. I also tried my luck in making bricks.

More: Otepic project description.

To learn more about Otepic, visit www.otepic.org.

To see the manual brick machine in action, feel free to watch this video:

 

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