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From Cave Co-op:

In the last few months one of our honorary ‘Cave men’, Steve James has been out in Malawi volunteering for our clients The Landirani Trust. He has been helping them with their feeding programmes, funding proposals, maternity units, childcare centres, vegetable gardens and project managing the Cave conversion of Landirani’s shipping container into a valuable library and resource centre, starting phase 1 of the Training Village project.

The container will be converted using the simplest methods possible, to minimise costs for the charity and to be as sustainable as possible using local materials and crafts people. The container will be craned onto the site using Malawi’s only crane and then rested onto rammed car tyre foundation piers. The design consists of a simple division of the container into half storage, half library and educational resource centre. The library half of the container will have it’s side cut open to form two large doors that will double up as exhibition space and notice boards. A large platform & steps made up of gabions filled with recycled concrete, finished with a rammed earth top will form the space for out door seating/reading.

The platform will be covered by a large corrugated steel roof for shade, shelter from the rain during the rainy season and rainwater harvesting. The double layer roof allows for ventilation between the canopy and the container top to keep the container cool. There will also be sun dried adobe bricks stacked on top of the container to absorb the heat between the two roofs, as well as an adobe render and plaster to the external and internal faces of on the hot North side, again to absorb heat and keep the container cool.

Vents have also been added top and bottom of the container sides to aid cooling, especially in the storage side which is completely enclosed. On the storage end of the container a timber pergola provides shade and allows plants that are growing on the living roof  to grow up and over.

There is a demonstration crop garden running around three sides of the container that show different food crops that can be grown together to minimise the need for fertilisers and pest control, as well as explaining about methods of rainwater harvesting and irrigation.

This little building is just the start of a vast building programme to develop a training village for the wider rural community in the heart of the Landirani project area, helping isolated and vulnerable HIV Aids orphans, disabled people, women, the elderly and anyone else for that matter! The library will provide a vital source of learning and information sharing that we take for granted. Knowledge is power and when people get together in the spirit of community all things are possible!



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