The building programme at Sam’s Village is now almost finished.
The Library, Kitchen/Restaurant, Guardhouse, Site Manager’s house, Roundhouse, Community Based Childcare Centre and compost toilets have all been completed.
We have completed 3 Adobe-built accommodation blocks which are currently being used by 48 bursary holders doing vocational training in our STEP program. From June we shall be accommodating 60 bursary holders who will be doing Tailoring, Basic Electronics, Tinsmithing, Solar installation and Earth Building (Rammed Earth and Adobe building). We are currently building a urinal and washroom block in Adobe which will be complete in the next month. For the Earth building training, we will be building 2 additional ablution blocks near the accommodation blocks which will include compost toilets, urinal, washroom and water harvester. We shall also be building 2 rammed earth water harvesters, one by the kitchen and another by the restaurant.
All the buildings are built using rammed earth techniques. This is a traditional – and sustainable – method of building in Malawi and across the world. Formwork is made from timber and then an earth and lime mixed is rammed between the formwork to create the walls. The walls are plastered and the buildings can either be thatched or tiled. The formwork can be reused. (You can read more about the details of building in rammed earth here.
Another technique we sometimes use is superadobe, where you fill maize bags with earth and lime, ram the earth mix solid and use the filled maize bags as bricks. The walls are then plastered and can be painted.
These sustainable techniques are in contrast to brick buildings which are popular across Malawi. The main problem is that baking bricks uses up precious firewood resources and contributes to deforestation.
We employ local men and women as labourers and craftspeople, thereby transferring knowledge and practical skills.
Solar panels provide electricity at the Village. They provide enough power for electric light and to charge computers and mobile phones.
We are also building some rammed earth buildings at Njewa (a suburb of Lilongwe) as a demonstration site that is more accessible for interested parties who live in and visit Lilongwe.